JOHN Hughes praised the “positive, mental mindset” of his players to bounce back from relegation and take a point off high-flying Brentford.
The Pools boss admitted training had been “flat” since Oldham’s victory over Yeovil last week condemned the club to League 2 football next season.
But he was delighted with his team’s response which saw Pools grind out a well-earned draw with the Bees, who could have lifted themselves into the automatic promotion places with a victory at the Vic.
“First and foremost all credit to the boys for showing real positive mental mindset, especially after what’s happened to them, being relegated,” he said.
“Maybe the Sky cameras helped that, they’ve still got that pride and all credit to them.
“We have been playing with pressure on us all year. For the first 25 minutes we were relaxed, played some nice stuff but as soon as we scored they thought, oh we’re beating Brentford, and stopped passing the ball.
“I’m honest enough to say I don’t think it was a great football match, there was too much at stake, especially for Brentford.”
Hughes said the players now have to pick themselves up again ahead of the finale of a difficult season at Crawley, next weekend.
“I never went close to the boys really this week, I seen the training was flat,” he admitted.
“That’s the uncertainty relegation brings, what’s happening? Am I getting a contract? What are we doing?
“And I felt for them because we had to keep our focus on the game as we will for next week.”
He says they “owe it to everyone” to keep fighting until the very last kick of the season, and then focus immediately turns to next year.
“First of all we owe it to ourselves but also the other teams that are challenging for automatic promotion, you owe it to them to give the best shot so I was pleased for the boys,” he said.
“We came out unscathed and matched a team like Brentford who have been going for the title.
“We have three young kids in Luke James, Jack Baldwin and Darren Holden playing against a team that are trying to make automatic promotion so that will do them the world of good.
“In terms of effort and commitment, they’re different class.”