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Critchley: A Sluggish Start Let Us Down

20 April 2021

Neil Critchley was left disappointed in Blackpool’s start to the game in the 1-0 defeat at Rochdale, but felt the side improved as the game went on.

The Seasiders' unbetaen run of 16 matches came to an end in the defeat at Spotland, with Oliver Rathbone's strike all the difference in the end.

“I don’t think we started the game very well,” Critchley said.

“I thought we looked a bit sluggish, and that may be down to the effort the team put in on Saturday against Sunderland. I think after the 20 minute mark, we looked bright and had control of the game without looking particularly threatening.

“We spoke about a few things at half-time and I think we started the second half much better. We were on the front foot and created some good chances in a game of few opportunities.

“The moment that’s decided the game was down to a few things. It was a great finish from their lad, but poor from us in terms of how we’ve given him the time and space to pick out the bottom corner on the edge of the box from a throw in.

“We pushed forward and created good opportunities but our final crosses or set pieces and wide free kicks were poor. You’re hoping something drops for you in the box or there’s that one final moment of quality, but that didn’t happen on the evening.”

Despite the defeat marking the end of Blackpool’s 16 game unbeaten run, Critchley was not downhearted.

“This can’t effect us and it’s only one game,” he said.

“The players have been fantastic. To go 16 games unbeaten is a fantastic run, though we haven’t achieved anything yet. We’re in control of our own destiny, so we’ll stay calm, come back in during the week and speak about it as a group before we prepare for Saturday.

During the game, young Academy player, Brad Holmes came on for his senior debut, and Critchley was delighted for the young striker,

“It was a great moment for Brad and he deserves it. You always remember your Football League debut, and he’ll remember this. We’re made up for him, his family and the Academy.”

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