We won’t roll over and die, vows Gary

Blackpool's Gary MacKenzie

Blackpool's Gary MacKenzie

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Gary MacKenzie has revealed a team meeting helped to clear the air at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool have lost seven of their last eight games but were much-improved at Bolton last weekend, and the popular defender explained how a chat between the players and manager Paul Ince has helped.

The former MK Dons centre-half said: “The gaffer asked our opinions and what we thought was going wrong. The overall feeling is that we weren’t far away but weren’t maintaining our standards for the whole 90 minutes.

“When we did allow the tempo to drop we were getting punished. A few things were said, and we agreed we have to keep our shape and go back to basics.

“At times we’ve lost our shape in recent weeks out of pure frustration.

“It’s OK to hear one voice all the time but sometimes it’s good for people to voice their opinions. “The gaffer allowed us all to have a say and get our thoughts out there.”

Pool have slid down the Championship table in the past month and know a win is vital at home to a rejuvenated Middlesbrough on Saturday.

And MacKenzie says the players are determined to put things right: “We’ll never roll over and die – it’s not in our make-up,” he said.

“It’s about personal pride for us. No-one likes losing games. No footballer should ever accept getting beaten. If they do, they shouldn’t be playing football. It will be a test of our character to get a result this weekend.”

Pool gave a much more committed display in the FA Cup defeat at the Reebok and the 28-year-old added: “I don’t think we deserved to lose the game. We were much the better team and we created numerous chances, but that’s football.

“Against Sheffield Wednesday we never really recovered from them scoring, but after conceding on Saturday we showed real desire and grit to get back into the game. The reaction from our lads was excellent.

“We chased every ball and battled for everything. Everyone gave everything and that’s all we can ask for.

“Our lads are desperate for a win and that was probably working against us. People have been trying too hard to put things right and have been ending up out of position.

“On Saturday it was much better. We stuck to our task and didn’t panic. It will change for us – it has to.

“But if we keep putting in performances like that for the manager, then we’ll be fine.”

The squad return to training today after a few days’ rest following the busy Christmas period. Some supporters have criticised this week’s break but MacKenzie insists the players needed it.

“A few lads, including myself, have been feeling it. We have had time to recover now. I’m sure we’ll get a good result on Saturday.”