Craig Hignett admitted to many of his players had an off day as Pools slipped to a disappointing opening day defeat to Sutton United at Victoria Park.
The U’s took advantage of a sluggish start from Pools to score twice in the first half hour before Gime Toure’s goal just before the break gave Hignett’s men hope of a comeback.
However, the visitors held firm in the face of some strong pressure in the second half and then sealed their win with a breakaway goal in injury time.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb by going 2-0 down,” Hignett told Pools TV.
“We had too many players off it today; we were really poor in the first half, we didn’t get going at all and we looked like rabbits in the headlights at times.
“The second half was different and we had a right go, penning them in their own half but we weren’t good enough to finish it but they defended really well and came and did a job on us.
“Once we got back in it with Gime just before half-time you felt we would at least get the equaliser but it didn’t happen and too many of the players had an off day I think.
“I don’t know if that is complacency – maybe a few of them turned up thinking it was going to be easy but we need to be better than that.
“Like I said in the week, I won’t get too down when we’re beaten just like I won’t get carried away if we go on a run so now we have a tough game on Tuesday to focus on.”