Blackpool players’ high spirit level despite their recent wobble

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Neil Critchley insists it’s been business as usual for Blackpool this week ahead of today’s crunch clash against Peterborough United.

 

The gap to the relegation zone will be cut to just five points should the Seasiders lose for a fourth consecutive game this afternoon.

Critchley’s men are without a win in seven and have failed to score in their last four outings, finding the back of the net only twice in those last seven games.

Despite the recent slump, Pool’s head coach has been impressed with the way his players have conducted themselves in training this week.

Blackpool lost at Derby County last time out

Blackpool lost at Derby County last time out

“It’s been business as usual here,” Critchley said.

“On Monday, we chatted as a group about the game on Saturday (the 1-0 defeat to Derby County) and what we’re going to do in training this week, as we always do. On Tuesday, we then had a really good session.

“I’ve got to say, the spirit and the enthusiasm of the players has been fantastic this week.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to remind yourselves what you’re good at and why we’ve been successful and re-align our thinking a little bit on the team we want to be and why we’ve been relatively successful over the last 18 months, nearly two years.

“I’ve seen a really good response and I’ve got total belief and faith in the ability of the players but, more importantly, the personality and the character of the players I work with every day.”

When asked if his players need to do anything differently, Critchley replied: “Are the players trying to carry out the plan as best as they can? The answer to that has been yes.

“That’s always open to subjective opinion, of course, because everyone gets to see the game.

“What people don’t see is the preparation leading into the game and the training that takes place, so sometimes it’s not always evident what we’re trying to do to the naked eye.

“However, we haven’t scored so it’s an area of the pitch we clearly need to improve upon – but the spirit of the players, the togetherness and the commitment is always there.

“At Derby last week, we weren’t great in the second half but we kept going right until the end.

“The players were going until the 90th minute, but it just didn’t happen for us on the day.

“If you look at the last three performances, when we’ve been on top in games, we haven’t scored.

“Against Birmingham, we were the better team in the first half, against Luton we had some really good chances but, sometimes, you need that bit of luck.

“The game against Luton, we had a chance that trickles towards the goal, hits the post and they clear it.

“Derby last week, they have one chance, it hits the post and rebounds to their player, they put it in and we lose.

“It’s fine margins, but we’ve just got to make sure we come out on the right side of the details because the details matter in this division.”

Scoring goals has clearly been Blackpool’s biggest problem in recent weeks, but Critchley insists there’s more to it than just sticking the ball in the back of the net.

He said: “It’s harder to have the ball and control the game than it is to defend.

“It’s harder to try and take the game to the opposition.

“It’s probably a bit easier to not have the ball, so it’s less decisions to make.

“You can put men behind the ball and frustrate the opposition, but as we’ve found in certain games this season when we’ve had teams defending their own goal in numbers with everyone behind the ball, especially when they’re protecting a lead, then it’s extremely tough to break down.

“Any team in any division anywhere around the world can find that difficult and it’s something we’ve found difficult this season.

“It’s something we need to work on and improve.”