Ben Burgess column: Blackpool did great but Liverpool didn’t

Sadio Mane was sent off at Manchester City
Sadio Mane was sent off at Manchester City

What a week for Blackpool! Four points from two tough away games (and hundreds of miles of travelling) is an excellent return.

Plymouth away certainly wouldn’t be the first fixture the players would be looking out for, and it was made even worse by being played on a Tuesday night.

That 3-1 victory has taken Gary Bowyer’s men to fifth place and keeps them above local rivals Fleetwood Town, Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic.

It wasn’t such a great weekend for Frank de Boer. Having inherited Sam Allradyce’s squad at Crystal Palace, and with a completely different football philosophy, there were always going to be teething problems.

In the summer, Palace’s owners spoke about a change in direction with the type of football they wanted to adopt.

Yet just four (albeit miserable) games into the new regime, Palace have sacked their new boss.

Out goes the Dutch footballing philosophy and in comes the tried and tested (and rather dull) methods of Roy Hodgson.

At least it’s another British manager in the Premier League but not quite the up and coming type everyone wants to see get an opportunity.

Having witnessed the Manchester City v Liverpool game last week, a few issues cropped up.

Number one is how can defenders as valuable as Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala for City, and Liverpool’s Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip have progressed this far without learning the basics of defending!

The game saw all four of those defenders exposed regularly, from practically the same situation every time.

The players must take on the lion’s share of responsibility for being regularly caught out, but how much coaching do the players get?

In my time at Blackpool we had some good centre-halves, like Ian Evatt, Rob Edwards, Alex Baptiste, Shaun Barker and Kaspars Gorkss.

Both Simon Grayson and Ian Holloway would work tirelessly with them all, along with the rest of the back four, in a variety of situations that they would encounter in a match.

These ranged from being isolated one v one or two v one to defending as a back four against 11 men.

Constantly, they would be on the sidelines barking at them to talk and to organise the team.

Kaspars and Shaun went on to earn excellent moves and in the season we were promoted with Ollie, Evo and Baps took their game to a different level, both defensively and on the ball.

Another issue was the fact that Liverpool completely threw the towel in when they went down to 10 men.

The majority of the talk in the press was about the validity of the sending off, which in fact disguised Liverpool’s lack of fight.

I’ve played in many games in which my side has been reduced to 10 men and more often than not the sense of injustice galvanises you.

Usually a striker is sacrificed, and the team generally tightens up and plays closer together.

It can be very hard to play through a well-organised back four in training, let alone an organised 10 players in a game situation when the onus is on you to attack.

The notable Blackpool performance was under Grayson away at Sheffield United, when they were riding high in the League.

Evo was sent off after five minutes and then we were one down, but we came back and created a host of chances before snatching a draw.

The best managers and coaches will work in training on situations where you are overloaded due to a sending-off/lazy player/injury.

You certainly never saw many Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho teams crumble after a sending-off.