Hartlepool United are the best side in the National League at this key area – Dave Challinor discusses the stats

Hartlepool United currently sit 10th in the National League table – but there’s one specific area where they lead the way.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 6:00 am
Gary Liddle of Hartlepool United during the Vanarama National League match between Barnet and Hartlepool United at The Hive, Edgware on Saturday 1st February 2020. (Credit: Jacques Feeney | MI News)

Dave Challinor’s side are statistically the best passing side in the division as they’ve made 13,044 passes so far this season which is over 500 more than any other side in the fifth tier.

While they have games in hand over other teams, they have the highest passing rate and pass success of any side with 79% of their attempted passes being finding a man.

The stats have no significance on the table that matters but it does exemplify the passing philosophy Challinor is looking to implement.

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When discussing his side’s passing statistics, the Hartlepool manager said: “You’ve got to take pride in anything positive like that.

“I want our team to play like that because that’s what I’ve built from as a manager and that’s my philosophy on how I want my teams to play.

“But first and foremost, I want us to be a winning team and I want to be a winning manager.

“If that can come with playing in an open and expansive way which sees us move the ball well then brilliant.

“What you have to be in this league is adaptable and you’ve got to be a bit more functional and direct at times, unfortunately.

“Last weekend at Barnet was a prime example of that which is why I was disappointed we didn’t come away from the game with something because I thought the players adapted well to the circumstances.

“You’ve got to find different ways of winning and the ideal way is to get yourselves in front early on and have the game wrapped up so you can pass the ball as much as you want.

“Unfortunately that’s not how it works because this division is really competitive.

“But that’s something we want to do and the players have bought into it and there are signs that moving forward we’re nearer to where we want to be but we’re still a work in progress and that’s really positive from my perspective.”