HARTLEPOOL United’s kamikaze defending is driving caretaker boss Sam Collins “insane”.
Under-pressure Pools have shipped 23 goals in Sky Bet League Two – including three sloppy goals in the 3-1 defeat to Accrington Stanley – to leave them second bottom.
The nature of the defeat and the goals conceded left the club’s interim manager rightly raging at full-time.
Collins has been boss for four matches now and he admits watching the side concede the goals they have is driving him crazy on the touchline.
He was already having sleepless nights but the three avoidable goals Pools let in at Accrington, including a free header from a corner, have left the 37-year-old fuming.
Collins said: “It drives me insane to see goals conceded like that.
“It is really frustrating because we never get beat by wonder goals, we get beat by our own mistakes, time and time again.
“You never see someone get it from 35-yards and drill it in to the top corner.
“The opposition goals come from when we are either defending a set piece, we switch off from a cross.
“Or like Accrington’s first which came from a poor header and the guy then runs past three of our defenders and puts it in.
“All these things add up and that is why we are losing games.
“This isn’t a one-off, it is too regular.
“It is never the same person either, it is different people all of the time.
“So somewhere down the line something is wrong and that is why we are where we are.”
Defeat at Accrington followed the 2-1 loss at home to Luton Town and it left Collins hitting out at his mentally weak players.
The caretaker boss, who is being assisted by Stephen Pears and Brian Honour, said the coaching team has been preparing players properly but the first team are not putting that into practice when it comes to match day.
Frustrated Collins added: “It is in people’s minds, it has to be, because we can’t have prepared any better for the game.
“We have tried to keep people fresh, watched videos on every team we have played and done all the team shape.
“At the end of the day, once you cross that white line it is down to you against somebody else and making sure you do your job.
“That is what they are getting paid to do.
“They are getting paid by Hartlepool United, whether it be on a Saturday afternoon or on a Tuesday night, to go and do the job and if they are not doing it then they don’t deserve to play.
“It doesn’t matter if it is the Premier League, League Two or watching my son play at Under-11s.
“If you get the better of your man and we have more people than not that do that, then you win.
“Simple as that.
“We know we can do it, we just need to start doing it more regularly,” added Collins, who is expected to be in the dugout for the weekend trip to Cambridge United.