Manager gives verdict on Pools defeat
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale gave a frank and honest assessment of the 3-0 defeat at home against Hartlepool.
The Grecians had gone into the fixture riding high off the back of an away win against big-spending Fleetwood and a home derby victory against Plymouth Argyle.
However Pools started quickly and didn’t relent across the 90 minutes – Jack Baldwin, Luke James and Jack Compton all grabbing goals that gave the visitors the points which their performance merited.
While Hartlepool could certainly be credited with a lively performance, Tis pulled no punches with his assessment of the Grecians’ performance at St James Park. City have made a habit of getting the right result away from home in the past season or so, but it was a surprise to the City manager to see his team on the receiving away of that kind of performance.
“I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen us outclassed so much in a game of football,” explained Tis. “I’ve seen teams beat us at home, but I’ve not seen teams beat us that well. We’ve done that to many teams away from home and put in that type of performance, but we’ve never had it done to us.
“I’m sore about it, but I’m also very objective and pragmatic about it. We weren’t that far away from a good performance, but we got it spectacularly wrong.
“The line between a team playing very well and performing very poorly can be a very fine margin. It’s not always a case of your team not being up for it and that the other team is. It’s about unity and doing things together at the same time.
“Hartlepool had a very simple but effective and well-structured way of playing, and they were very good at it. We got it all wrong. The team started the game with the required amount of motivation, tenacity, effort and started like they did in previous weeks. But they didn’t get the synergy or do the same things at the same time.”
For large swathes of the game, City were unable to produce any kind of rhythm – partly because of a rambunctious and spritely display by the visitors. But Tis was frustrated by the lack of cohesion and shape that allowed the game to slip away from Exeter.
“I thought Liam Sercombe and Tommy Doherty were excellent today,” the City manager continued, “but I don’t think there’s a midfielder in the country that could have dealt with the space that we allowed Liam and Tommy to have to cover in order to have an impact.
“Our space on the pitch was hugely wrong, so then you get into a situation when you can never get close enough to the ball to affect the game.
“I could have brought on a £50 million player and it would have made no difference. We were in the wrong place – we were between trying to pass it and going long and we did neither. Everyone in our team today was stretched. Hartlepool were extremely good, but we got it wrong.
“The lines between a good performance and a bad one can be really small, but today we came on the end of a really poor performance. We were so ineffective. Part of was how Hartlepool played, but we contributed to our downfall and we’ll have to learn from it.”
Wins and losses often produce performances that allow managers to put in a forensic examination of the match DVD to pick out the minutiae with a toothcomb.
Tis felt that the Hartlepool defeat, by contrast, was a lot more basic in its nature and therefore not one that needs a thorough post-mortem.
“We weren’t on the same page, so what’s the point in dissecting all the details,” explained Paul. “It’s not a day for details; the flow of our game was completely missing. Sometimes you just have to say that we were very poor.
“I’m not angry about it, and I don’t think the players were that bad either. They were just bad together, so it would be wrong of me to criticise them too heavily. They made mistakes, but no more than a normal game.”