DEFIANT Colin Cooper has told his Hartlepool United players to take defeat to Scunthorpe United “on the chin” and urged them to bounce back to winning ways.
The loss marked the end of an impressive few weeks for Pools which had seen them rack up five consecutive victories, including four wins in Sky Bet League Two.
But a second-half strike from Sam Winnall prevented Pools making it six with a curled effort past Scott Flinders after a mistake by on-loan Middlesbrough defender Christian Burgess.
Cooper thought his side were the better team, but said they have no choice but to take the defeat on the chin and look to dust themselves down.
The 46-year-old said: “The players had their chins on their shoelaces when we walked into the dressing room.
“But I made one or two points and I have to say they can’t give us any more than they are giving us.
“We were just a smidgeon short on Saturday and just lacking that bit of extra quality.
“Fair play to Scunthorpe, that back-four plus the midfield four and the goalkeeper did what they had to do at the times they needed to do it.
“We just didn’t have that little bit of extra quality to convert the one or two opportunities that we had.
“I don’t think we created an awful lot but at least their defenders and goalkeeper had to defend for the last bit of the first half and start of the second and we made them defend their lead after they scored in order to keep the three points.
“I have to say that the players have been very good and all I’d like to see now is that we rest, recover and make sure that when Dagenham come next Saturday we are ready.”
Scunthorpe manager Brian Laws had to change his side’s formation three times during the course of the match and Cooper believed his side were in control for most of it.
Cooper added: “Other than a goal and a few hair scary moments I thought it was a football match we were in control of but we haven’t been able to do enough to win it.”
Scunthorpe: Slocombe, Byrne, Mirfin, Canavan, Dawson, Syers, Hawkridge (Waterfall 85), McAllister, Spencer (Ribeiro 46), Burton (Iwelumo 72), Winnall. Subs Not Used: Esajas, Severn, Adelakun, Wootton. Booked: Canavan. Goals: Winnall 76.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Duckworth, Austin, Baldwin, Burgess, Franks, Dolan, Walton (Sweeney 85), Monkhouse, Poole (Walker 65), James (Rodney 84). Subs Not Used: Collins, Rafferty, Richards, Holden. Booked: Burgess.
Att: 3,613 Ref: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire).