Cooper ready to wield axe

PA Sport
Neale Cooper slated his Hartlepool players after their defeat to Crewe
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Neale Cooper slated his Hartlepool players after their defeat to Crewe

Hartlepool boss Neale Cooper threatened his cup flops with the chop as newly-promoted Crewe dumped Pools out of the Capital One Cup with four first-half goals in a 5-0 rout.

Ajay Leitch-Smith opened the scoring and Max Clayton and Mathias Pogba both bagged braces as the Railwaymen made it 20 games unbeaten under manager Steve Davis.

The visitors created more chances than their hosts, but poor finishing and woeful defending against Crewe's fluid, mobile and pacy attack meant the game was over as a contest by half-time. Cooper said: "That was the worst defensive display I have ever seen. They tortured us."

He added: "I'm really hurting after that and if the players aren't feeling it too they can leave. I don't want to work with players who don't hurt after that. You can't make silly mistakes like we did and expect to get away with them at this level.

"I was actually really looking forward to the game after the pre-season we've had and after the first 10 minutes I thought we looked sharp. But then it was bang, bang, bang and we were 3-0 down and I couldn't believe what I was watching. When the fourth and fifth went in it was just embarrassing.

"The back four looked like they had never met each other and big men were getting knocked around by little boys."

Crewe boss Steve Davis said: "I'm delighted with the start we have made, but we are not getting carried away, there is still a lot of work to do on the training ground. But nevertheless it is a great result.

"It's just the start of a long hard season, but it's one we can all look forward to after that. Our front four are going to be difficult to hold for any defence at any level. They have movement and power and score goals.

"We've set a nice benchmark for ourselves which is one we can move forward from. A little bit of sloppiness crept in and we allowed them a few chances, but other than that we were excellent.

"We've made a few changes and the new faces have slotted in well and are only going to get better. You can see the confidence running through the side and they don't think they are going to lose at the moment."

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