Grant McCann admitted his team were not at their best in the 1-0 New Year’s Day defeat to Blackpool.
Gary Madine’s 31st-minute penalty, blasted straight down the middle after ex-Tiger Josh Bowler was felled by Jacob Greaves, settled a keenly-fought encounter at Bloomfield Road.
Josh Magennis, George Honeyman, Richie Smallwood, Tyler Smith and Randell Williams all had good chances for the Tigers, with Pool keeper Daniel Grimshaw in fine form.
And while disappointed with the performance, McCann felt his side should still have come away with something.
“We weren’t at our best today, that’s for sure,” McCann admitted. “We didn’t really get going most of the game.
“It was one of those games where we knew it was going to be scrappy. We knew it was going to be that sort of style, given the way the pitch is and the way Blackpool play.
“The goal was disappointing for us. We prepped all week in terms of Josh Bowler – we know him inside-out and we know he’s going to want to come inside on to his left foot.
“We didn’t get it right between two players and we let him come into the box. Is it a penalty? It’s 50/50.
“The ball veers to the left, whether it’s Bowler’s touch or Greavesy’s touch, I don’t know. We didn’t get the rub of the green.
“After that, we had a very good chance with Tyler, who probably should score.
“At half-time, we said, ‘up the energy, up the aggression, see if we can pick more second balls up in midfield, can we play forward and over their press a little bit more?’
“We did it and had two unbelievable chances at the end which we simply had to score – there’s no question about that.
“We haven’t been anywhere near our best today but we’re disappointed not to come away with at least a point.
“George had a good chance where Josh set him up in the first half. Tyler’s had a really good chance. Richie’s had an excellent chance from a set-play we worked to try and free him in the box.
“The chances we created today were pleasing but in this division, you have to take them.”
The Tigers lost Callum Elder and Josh Magennis to injury during the game, while Ryan Longman required treatment towards the end.
McCann said: “It looks a bit like a groin strain that Callum has got. We’ll let it settle down over the next 24-48 hours and see how he progresses with the treatment. Hopefully it’s not too bad.
“Josh Magennis came off and felt his hamstring a little bit.
“Ryan Longman was struggling to get through the game – he cramped up. Ryan hasn’t trained for a while – he only trained yesterday.
“We’ve got a lot of bumps and bruises at the minute, lads returning from the Covid situations – we had three or four of them on the pitch today.
“It’s been a tough time for us but that’s no excuse in terms of the performance and result.”
Asked about the players absent from the matchday squad, McCann said: “We had about seven or eight missing today due to Covid-related or injury problems.
“It’s been frustrating for us the last 10 days but we’ve tested the last few days and seem to have clear tests. I’m just hoping and praying we don’t get any more next week.”