IAN Holloway has vowed the Seasiders will put “a week of absolute nonsense” behind them and get back to winning ways.
The boss also insists neither he nor his players will use the off-field issues as an excuse for poor results.
Holloway’s men looked well set for a Championship play-off place during a 10-game unbeaten start to the year, when they beat promotion rivals Middlesbrough and Cardiff.
But form has dipped in recent weeks, coinciding with revelations about payments from the club to owner Owen Oyston which led to supporters chanting “give us our club back” during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Peterborough.
Holloway insists the negative publicity cannot become a convenient excuse for Pool taking four points from the last 15 and slipping out of the top six.
The manager said: “Just about everything that could have gone wrong at Peterborough did go wrong. But whether off-the-field issues had an effect on it ... that is just excuses for me.
“We were to blame on the day ... me and my team. I spoke about my tactics. I knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t see my team do it.
“But we haven’t had many of those bad days since I have been at the club. Unfortunately, performances like that are an occupational hazard. When they happen, you have to stay solid and strong, and get on with it.
“We’ve got to stick together in that dressing room and not listen to anything being written or said by others.
“What has happened over the last week has been absolute nonsense and as far as I’m concerned and I am a bit angry with all of it.
“I probably would have expected it last year (in the Premier League) but not this year.
“The bottom line is there can be no excuses for us faltering in our run towards where we want to be. “I don’t want any excuses. I don’t make any and I don’t want my players to.
“What happened on Saturday wasn’t good enough. The players’ night’s sleep before the game was good enough.
The food they ate was good enough and it was all paid for (a reference to stories about club credit cards being blocked at their hotel). What wasn’t good enough was the performance.
“All they should ever consider is their own effort and their own performance. To fulfil our aim and get up towards the top of the table, we have to play much better than that.”
The key is to get back on track on Saturday at Brighton, in what is now a huge game in terms of the club’s play-off chances.
Holloway added: “We have to go about putting a stamp on every match from now until the end of the season, give as good account of ourselves as we possibly can and see if we are anything like good enough to finish where we want to be.
“If we’re not, we’ll have to dust ourselves down and go again, but we’ll deal with that if it happens.
“For the moment, we still have a very good chance of doing something special again this season, but the only way we might do that is if everyone – from players to fans – is united and together.
“We have to get away from all this total nonsense off the pitch and concentrate on what is important – winning football games. It is all about what we do on the grass and, with the greatest of respect, we have to get our heads back on that.”