Neil Critchley: No time to dwell on Stoke setback as Blackpool get ready for QPR

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There’s no time for Blackpool to dwell on their midweek disappointment against Stoke City.


Pool’s three-game winning run came to an abrupt end on Wednesday night as they were narrowly edged out 1-0 by Michael O’Neill’s Potters at Bloomfield Road.

Even so, the Seasiders are only a point adrift of the Championship play-offs after suffering just their second defeat in nine games.

Neil Critchley is gearing up for a teatime televised clash with QPR

Neil Critchley is gearing up for a teatime televised clash with QPR

Focus now switches to tomorrow’s televised home encounter with Queens Park Rangers (5.30pm).

Pool boss Neil Critchley said: “That’s the Championship, it’s another tough game. These are the challenges we want.

“They’ve had a good win in midweek against Cardiff. They play in a similar way to Stoke and they’ve got good players too.

“I told the players (after the Stoke game) that this is what this league is about, that’s the challenge and that’s why we want to be in this division.

“We’re disappointed with the result but we have to get over it very quickly and get ready for a Sky Sports game.

“Even though we lost, we were more than a match for a very good Stoke team and I think we can take a lot of encouragement from that.”

The Seasiders were the better side in the first half but squandered good chances which came the way of Sonny Carey and Jerry Yates.

The Potters rallied in the second period, winning it late on when Steven Fletcher bundled home.

Head coach Critchley said: “You could say they paid us a lot of respect in the first half but I think the way we controlled the play and built our play meant they sat off us a little bit.

“It was like they were thinking, ‘These are good’ because we could handle the ball and play.

“We got into some good areas with one or two decent chances and if you take one of those it’s completely different.

“I thought the game would open up a lot more than it did in the second half, which would have suited us.

“But because they score, they don’t have to open up the game and we just failed to do enough with the ball when we needed to really.”

Fletcher’s winner came on the rebound after former Fleetwood Town loanee Harry Souttar had volleyed against a post from a free-kick.

“I’m really angry about that,” said Critchley of the soft goal.

“They started the second half better but then I felt the game evened out again and I knew we would have a spell.

“When they go 1-0 up, they hold on to the lead and the game becomes a bit scrappy, which suited them.”