Baptiste’s challenge to Pool team mates

Alex Baptiste
Alex Baptiste
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ALEX Baptiste thinks Blackpool are the best side in the Championship – and says it’s time they started to prove it.

The defender has full faith in the Pool side, even though they have lost three of their last four games.

With no game tomorrow due to the international break, Pool’s players have been given time off to reflect on their slip to eighth position in the Championship table.

And centre-half Baptiste has no doubts about the quality of Ian Holloway’s squad.

He said: “We are the best team in the league – it’s up to us to start to show it.

“I believe in this team totally. I think we are better than anyone in this league.

“We have an unbelievable chance of promotion.”

If negativity is starting to creep in among Pool’s fans, there’s no sign of it in the players.

Much has been made of the Seasiders’ problems defending set-pieces this season, with more than half the goals conceded so far coming from dead-ball situations.

And while Baptiste agrees it has been a problem, he says it is one they are determined to solve.

“I think the past few games we’ve conceded too many set pieces and against Charlton the first goal killed us,” said Baptiste.

“Our confidence went because of how many we’d let in in previous games.

“We have to defend better from set-pieces, it’s as simple as that really.

“We started off the season really well. I don’t see, even now, teams carving us open, all our problems are coming from dead balls.

“It kills us. We have been in games and feeling comfortable, and then we concede annoying goals.

“I can’t remember a team carving us open and having a brilliant chance one-on-one.

“Teams are having two shots in games and scoring two goals. We are going to work on our defending this week.”

Pool return from the international break a week tomorrow with a tough trip to Turf Moor to face Burnley.

And the 26-year-old sees next week as a totally fresh start.

“The season starts now for us,” he said. “From now until the end of the year we have no more international breaks, so it starts now for us.

“Our bad run is out the way now. We started okay; we are only a couple of points off the top two.

“We have three massive games coming up, so it’s going to be interesting. We are up there with the best, and we just need to iron our a few things and we’ll be fine.

“In one respect it’s good to have a break, but we won’t see a few of the lads until Thursday now.

“I’m not a fan of these breaks, but these are the things we have to deal within the Championship.”

When you talk about ambition, you can’t get more confident than Baptiste, who’ll only be happy if Pool end up with a top two finish.

“I firmly believe we are better than a lot of teams in this division. We lost 3-0 at Cardiff, but I still think we are better than them.

“My aim is the top two this season. I don’t fear anyone in this league, so it’s time we proved just how good we are.”