IAN Holloway has ruled out automatic promotion once and for all – and ordered his players to do the same.
The boss believes too much fretting about trying to catch the leaders has affected performances.
After Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Reading left the Seasiders trailing the second-placed Royals by 13 points, the boss said: “There are 21 points to play for but I have to be honest – I think that is us out of the automatic race.
“I think our lads have been too busy thinking, ‘Could we do this, and if we beat these we might be able to catch them’. Forget that, and let’s just get on with it.
“It looked as if some of them were thinking about that, and when a goal went in it was, ‘Oh my God, we might not win this”.
“That hasn’t ever been us but it looked like it on the day. We just have to get as many points as we can.
Holloway felt the performance at Reading was decent but he was scathing about his team’s defending from set-pieces.
Pool conceded from a corner and a free-kick, and the other Royals goal came from a simple cross into the box.
“You should look forward to set-pieces. It is muck and nettles,” said the boss, whose team have slipped to seventh in the table.
“You should be saying as a defender, ‘Go on, get it in here. I want to clear it’. I did as a player. I am only little but I used to do my job at the near post.
“I broke my nose five times, split my head open about six times. And yet Reading players are heading it in my net without a mark on them.
“And don’t say we don’t practise defending them – of course we do. But at the minute other people are doing it better than us.
“The delivery on Saturday was excellent and we were like statues,
“We look like we’re waiting for a bus rather than trying to defend a set-piece.”