IT’S MENTAL! – Hartlepool Utd boss angry after defeat to Exeter City and club’s ‘weak mentality’

Colin Cooper during the game against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID
Colin Cooper during the game against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID
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ANGRY Colin Cooper pulled no punches after seeing his Hartlepool United side bring the curtain down on a disappointing season with a 2-0 defeat to Exeter City.

Defeat at Victoria Park left Pools languishing 19th in Sky Bet League Two and Cooper is looking to change the club’s “weak” mentality with changes in personnel.

Pools are expected to announce the retained list tomorrow and a number of experienced – and well paid – players could be set for the exit door.

After the defeat to Paul Tisdale’s side Cooper hit out at the attitude of the players and said he won’t accept mediocrity as long as he is manager.

The 47-year-old said: “It has been a frustrating season.

“We have some good footballers and have showed that on numerous occasions but I think it showed that running through the football club there is a weakness in mentality, hence relegation last year.

“It is something I noticed when I first came in and it is something I have tried to put my stamp on and will continue to do so.

“With changes that will hopefully happen but you have to try and get the right personnel in who are not weak enough to be happy with losing.

“We have some very young players who are learning their trade and have ups and downs but the ones who have been around the block have to have a different mentality towards working and playing.

“As much as people have patted us on the back at times this season, 19th in League Two is hopefully the bottom for Hartlepool United.

“I am leaving an angry man finishing 19th yet I have people leaving here smiling saying we have stayed up.

“That is nowhere near good enough and my job is to shuffle the pack and get a squad of players that have a different mentality and don’t like losing as often.”

The former Middlesbrough player couldn’t hide his disappointment after the final

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whistle, especially given his side’s lack of energy, urgency and enthusiasm.

A “hugely frustrated” Cooper added: “There were too many out there with an end of season mentality.

“All the words were said before the game – and not just by me, but by the players themselves – but the actions just weren’t there.

“Football isn’t about words, everyone can say words and everyone can make phrases, but it is about action.

“And there was too many people who disappointed me with their actions.”

After going in at the break 2-0 down, the players were back out on the pitch after only around 10 minutes – a full five minutes before the second half kicked off.

Cooper wouldn’t go into too much detail about what was said but did confirm what he wrote on the dressing room notice board.

He added: “I wrote one word on the board at half-time, which was desire.

“Desire comes in a lot of different shapes and forms and I didn’t think enough of the players showed enough desire and urgency.

“There was a lot of phrases and words said by me and the group in the week leading up to the game and I left the training ground Friday pleased with the preparation.

“There is little you can do from the sidelines.

“You give people indicators and Exeter played in the way we had planned but too many of my players were not at game pace.

“I have a games management system which I like them to work through and if I went through there was a lot of crosses and no ticks.”