Blackpool boss: Middlesbrough will want to respond after early-season cup defeat

Neil Critchley believes Blackpool’s cup win against Middlesbrough earlier in the season will have little to no bearing on tomorrow’s league encounter.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:45 pm

The Seasiders cruised to their first win of the season against Neil Warnock’s men at the start of August, beating the Teesside outfit 3-0 in their League Cup first round tie.

Both sides named weakened teams though, so Critchley insists it would be dangerous to take too much confidence from their previous meeting.

“There will be a lot of changes to their team from the previous games. In fact, both teams will be vastly different on Saturday,” Critchley said.

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“In some ways, that result in the cup might not help us because you know what Neil and his teams are like.

“You don’t stay in management for the period of time Neil has without being very competitive and he’s still got that competitive nature, you can see it.

“I was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time with Neil before the cup game and his enthusiasm and energy was quite uplifting.

“He was really full of energy that night and you can tell he doesn’t like losing games of football, so he’ll be looking to respond.

“Being at home, they’ll also be wanting to back up their result from beating Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.”

Critchley made the trip to the City Ground to watch Boro’s 2-0 win, which was just their second three points of the season.

The result would spell the end for Forest boss Chris Hughton, who was sacked the following morning after losing for the sixth time in just seven games.

“I thought it was a fantastic away performance from Middlesbrough,” Critchley said.

“Neil set his team up to play on the break and they had lots of pace up top and limited Forest to very few chances as well, so it was a really good away performance.

“They kept a clean sheet and played on Forest’s lack of confidence a little bit, which worked for them. That’s typical of Neil and his experience of playing in different types of games.”

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