JOHN Hughes admits he will need to change the “culture” of Hartlepool United if he is to achieve anything at the club.
The Scot watched yesterday as his side failed to score for an eighth consecutive match, going down to a 1-0 defeat at Stevenage.
The result leaves Pools eight points from safety with just four matches remaining and Hughes concedes survival is unlikely.
And the 48-year-old is concerned by the mindset of a dressing-room which has now gone 12 hours without finding the back of the net.
“It’s the story of our season,” he said, reflecting on the reverse at Broadhall Way.
“Is it an acceptance? We play well and get plaudits for that but then concede and fail to score.
“Is that the mindset that is at this club right now?
“Do they not have that steely determination you need?
“We’ll have to change the culture of the club if that is the case.
“I read all the great sportsman, your likes of Jack Nicklaus, there is a real willingness to get the ball in the hole, they have that self-belief and confidence you need to succeed.
“Even in football the top players, like Steven Gerrard, think they’re the best player on the park and they play to that standard.
“That comes with training every day like a world champion and playing like a world champion.”
Whether or not Hughes attempts to implement his culture change with this set of players remains to be seen.
Several are out of contract this summer and the manager has already requested a meeting with chief executive Russ Green and chairman Ken Hodcroft in a bid to draw up plans for the close-season.
However, when asked by SportMail if he could change
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the mental approach of the current squad, Hughes came back: “I have to change the culture with the players who are here.
“It’s my job to educate them and make them better footballers.
“There is a science to football and I think it’s coming.
“We just need to keep working away at it.”
But Hughes was less optimistic when pressed on the club’s chances of escaping the drop.
“It’s going to be very difficult to stay up now – you need to win football matches,” he said.
“It’s not just that, we’re not scoring goals and we lack that threat.
“That makes it very hard and time is running out.
“We just have to keep going and give it our best shot in the last four matches.”