Neil Critchley: So important Blackpool didn’t lose to QPR

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Neil Critchley insists it was imperative Blackpool avoided defeat heading into this month’s international break.


The Seasiders trailed at half-time in their televised home clash against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday evening.

But Critchley’s men, who went into the game off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Stoke City, equalised through Gary Madine’s penalty.

Reece James was among the Blackpool players praised by Neil Critchley for their performance against QPR

Reece James was among the Blackpool players praised by Neil Critchley for their performance against QPR

When asked how vital it was to avoid back-to-back defeats ahead of their 14-day break, Critchley said: “It’s really important.

“When you’re 1-0 down at half-time, we could easily have been feeling sorry for ourselves.

“Their boy (Chris Willock) scores an outstanding goal but they’ve not been near our penalty area really in the first 20 minutes or so. But that’s the quality you face. We could have been feeling down at half-time thinking, ‘This is not for us’, but we came out again.

“We steamrollered them in my opinion. We were too much for them and we should have won the game.”

Critchley was full of praise for his players from back to front, starting with Dan Grimshaw in goal right up to Madine up top.

“Every single one of them was excellent,” he added. “Reece James stepping in, having not played 90 minutes for so long, was excellent at left-back.

“Jordan Gabriel was outstanding. The two centre-halves, the goalkeeper, the two midfield players with their energy and commitment, Gary leading the line, Keshi Anderson, Owen Dale on his first start, Josh Bowler was better than he’s been recently, Demi Mitchell and Sonny Carey … what a goal that would have been on his left foot.

“That deserved to go in and win us the game. That would have been a fitting way for us to win the game.”

The Seasiders, who return to action with a trip to Swansea City a week on Saturday, are a side who are able to mix up their approach depending on their opponent.

But, in a perfect world, Critchley would love to see his players perform how they did against QPR on a regular basis, with high energy and confidence in possession of the ball.

“Everything about the performance is exactly what I want from a Blackpool team,” Pool’s head coach said.

“We gave a great account of ourselves and we’re improving all the time.

“We’ve bounced back from a defeat against Stoke, we’re 1-0 down in this game but we’re just relentless. We keep going and it was a terrific performance.

“I enjoyed watching us play and I was so pleased with how we played.

“Even if we had lost and even if they had scored at the end, I know it would have been a kick in the teeth but that wouldn’t have changed my opinion.

“We can take so much from this game.”