Ian Holloway hopes the pain of losing a stoppage-time lead away to the Championship pacesetters won’t damage his players too much.
The Seasiders boss revealed his troops were distraught after Rickie Lambert’s 94th-minute equaliser denied Pool three points against a Southampton side that had won their previous 22 home games.
Holloway said: “I am so pleased and proud of the way my lads played but they were so disappointed to concede that late, late goal.
“We really wanted to win and we felt we could.
“I hope it doesn’t hurt them too much because it was a punch to the guts having the three points taken away from us.
“Conceding late goals has been a bugbear for us. It was at the end of last season and we conceded late on against Birmingham the other week. We have to try to cut it out.
“We have to defend for our lives and stop crosses coming into the box.”
Holloway, desperate to finish the season in a play-off place, knows the importance of staying in touch with the top teams in the division.
His side are eighth in the table, four points outside the top six, and he added: “What I am concerned about is that Southampton are still 12 points above us, but I felt we’d earned the right to be nine behind by the way we played on the day.
“But we shouldn’t be too down because we are on a fantastic run. We didn’t have a shot for 60 minutes at Burnley, but since then we’ve drawn three, won three and lost one.
“To have won this as well would have sent a big message not only to the rest of the division but to my lads as well.
“We got beaten badly at West Ham but we have put that behind us, and we have proved we can come to a team more consistent than us and do something.
“So let’s keep moving forward, keep playing the game the way we are, and try to pick up as many points as we can to keep us around where we want to be.”
Pool’s players flew from Southampton to Glasgow after the game for their annual Christmas party.
The squad were given Monday off and are back at the training ground today before a visit to Blackpool Sixth Form College.
Holloway added: “I want us to refresh our batteries this week before the Watford game.
“We’ve been very good at home and I am looking forward to seeing if we can keep that going.”
>> IAN Evatt picked up his eighth booking of the season at Southampton on Saturday, meaning the centre-half is two yellow cards away from a two-match suspension.