Blackpool boss targets a return to winning ways at Bloomfield Road

Neil Critchley says the next challenge for Blackpool is to replicate their away run at Bloomfield Road.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 8:06 am

The Seasiders claimed their fourth straight away victory on Saturday with a 2-0 win against Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.

While Pool are unbeaten on home turf since October, they’ve drawn their last four games at Bloomfield Road.

It’s something they’ll be looking to put right against high-flying Peterborough United on Tuesday night.

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Blackpool's players won at Oxford United on Saturday
Blackpool's players won at Oxford United on Saturday

“We might have to try and play away every week,” Critchley joked after Saturday’s triumph against Oxford, whom they leapfrogged in the league table.

“We’ve got to try and convert our away performances to playing at home, because those four draws at home are slightly frustrating.

“That’s up to us to remedy that against Peterborough, which will obviously be a tough game against top, top opposition.

“We’ve beaten them once this season, so the aim is to do the double on them.”

Saturday’s win against Oxford was all the more impressive given Pool lacked seven key first-team players through injury.

It isn’t the first time the Seasiders have been depleted by injuries this season, but Critchley refuses to use the absences as an excuse.

“The players don’t surprise me because I’ve worked with them all season,” he said.

“You can never fault the character, the honesty and the humility that this group show.

“Sometimes we’re too honest on the pitch in my opinion!

“Sometimes I get frustrated because I think we’re capable of doing better and playing better, but I’ll never get frustrated with the players for a lack of effort or the character they show.

“To come to Oxford, who are obviously a top team in good form, with the players we’ve got missing and deservedly win the game, it’s the performance and manner of the victory that delighted me most.

“It’s not like we’ve been lucky to win 2-0, it was an outstanding performance.”

The Seasiders dominated the first half against Oxford thanks to aggressive pressing and clever build-up play.

Once they raced into a two-goal lead through Kenny Dougall and Dan Ballard, they saw out the game impressively.

“Early on, we gave them some problems with how we set up,” Critchley said.

“We pressed very well and showed good organisation and intelligence. We got on top of them and forced them into mistakes.

“Once we were 2-0 up at the end, we saw the game out with the ball, not defending. When we had to defend, we defended.

“I said to the players at half-time that the best form of defence is attack and we can’t sit back, we’ve got to keep doing what we’ve been doing to get ourselves into this position.

“The only criticism I’ve got is that we didn’t score more goals in the second half because some of our play and passing and movement around the box was fantastic.”

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