Gary Bowyer hinted that some of his fringe players failed to seize their opportunity to impress as Blackpool bowed out of the Checkatrade Trophy against Wycombe.
Players who have spent much of the season on the sidelines featured in the third-round home tie but Pool fell to a 5-4 penalty shoot-out defeat following a 1-1 draw.
Will Aimson, whose penalty miss proved decisive, Michael Cain, Armand Gnanduillet, Danny Philliskirk and Mark Yeates were all given a starting berth as Town failed to reach the last eight in the much-maligned competition.
The Pool boss said he was impressed with the performances of some of them but Bowyer couldn’t hide his frustrations at the displays of others.
“I’ve learned quite a bit from this game,” he said. “You give some opportunities and it’s up to them to take it.
“Some have impressed me tonight and some have missed an opportunity.”
The Seasiders appeared to be on their way to the quarter-finals when the outstanding Kelvin Mellor gave them an early lead, but their League Two rivals hit back in the second half through Anthony Stewart to force a shoot-out.
Bowyer’s men had earlier squandered a crucial opportunity to double their lead when they were awarded a penalty for Marcus Bean’s foul on Bright Osayi-Samuel.
However, Philliskirk missed from 12 yards for the second time this season.
Bowyer added: “The penalty miss was a big moment in the game. Obviously if it goes in, then it’s a bigger mountain for them to climb at 2-0.
“So I’m massively disappointed we didn’t convert it and make the game a little easier for ourselves.
“I’ve no problem with Danny stepping up, but at the end of the day the goalie (Jamal Blackman) has made a comfortable save.”
Bowyer felt there was little to separate the sides and said the shoot-out was the right way to decide the tie.
“This is the competition where it goes straight to penalties and I didn’t think there was a great deal in the game,” he said.
“They hit the bar and had another good chance. We conceded a bit of a sloppy goal but they will probably say the same about ours.
“We had a change in formation again (a diamond) and I think that caught them out in the first half. It worked well for us.
“But obviously with the number of changes we made, a lot of those players were playing their first game for a while and tiredness kicked in a little. A couple of injuries didn’t help in terms of changes we were forced to make.”
As expected Bloomfield Road was virtually empty for last night’s tie – the official attendance was 766.