Matthew Bates warns Pools’ players - admits they’ve ‘taken eye off the ball’

Matthew Bates
Matthew Bates

Hartlepool United caretaker Matthew Bates believes his players may have “taken their eye off the ball”.

Pools lost their second game in just five days against a team in the National League bottom four on Saturday.

And Bates thinks one of the reasons may be that his players have had their attentions taken elsewhere.

On his team’s performances, the former defender explained: “It’s disappointing, of course it is. First-half we were as poor as we have been for a long time, all over the park and got what we deserved in the end.

“It’s down to combination of things- maybe people have taken their eye off the ball and it’s something I will have to look at.”

One other explanation, according to Bates, might be the pressure of playing in front of the Victoria Park crowd.

“Are we struggling to play at home?” he questioned.

“Now we are getting chased from others on this division rather than the ones who are chasing ourselves. This could also be a problem.

“It’s things I will look at in the next few days, we were looking over our shoulders before the game and we still are now so nothing changes.”

Things don’t get any easier for Pools this week, with promotion-chasing Sutton United the next test on the horizon.

Bates continued: “Every team we come up against is a test.

“We have to be better than we were on Saturday, we know that. We have to be better than Easter Monday,too.

“But we crack on for Sutton next weekend.”

Reflecting back on the 1-0 home reverse to in-form Solihull Moors, who have lost just twice this calendar year, Bates said his side were very much second best.

“It was a poor performance, first-half especially and we improved second-half, but were sloppy in possession,” he said.

“We were always second-best.

“It’s not good enough for Hartlepool United and the fans, it’s a poor performance.”