Blackpool lacked a 'killer instinct' in their frustrating defeat to Rochdale, says Neil Critchley
Neil Critchley felt his Blackpool side played nice football but had no “killer instinct” in their frustrating 1-0 defeat to Rochdale.
Ollie Rathbone scored the only goal of the game as the Seasiders suffered a setback in their quest to finish in the League One play-offs.
The defeat marked the end of Pool’s 16-game unbeaten run, but nevertheless Critchley’s men remain in the top six, three points clear of seventh-placed Oxford United with two games in hand to play.
“I’ve got no complaints with the way we played from our penalty box to their penalty box. The only thing missing was the last little bit,” Critchley said.
“There was very little between the two teams but I thought that would be the case because they’ve picked up and had won their last couple at home, which has given them a shot in the arm, so we knew it would be a really difficult game.
“It’s a really poor goal to concede from our point of view. It’s good quality from their lad, a good finish, and it then gives them something to hold onto.
“After the first 20 minutes of the game, we had control. Our approach play was really good but what let us down was our quality of crossing especially, which was abysmal. Our corners and our wide free-kicks weren’t very good, either.
“If you don’t put the right balls into the box you’re not going to create many chances against a team that puts everyone behind the ball and ultimately that’s what has let us down tonight.”
Pool were especially poor during the opening 20 minutes, where they looked really sluggish and conceded two early chances.
“It took us a good 15 or so minutes to really get going,” Critchley conceded.
“After we settled down, we played some really good football in large periods.
“They created a couple of good chances early on and we weren’t quite at it. Maybe it was a bit of a hangover from the physical exertions of the weekend against Sunderland.
“But after the 20-minute mark, we played some good football, passed the ball around the pitch well, controlled the game, pinned them back in their own half and we started the second-half really well.
“If we score at that moment then it’s completely different. But when they’ve scored, they make it even more difficult for you by putting everyone behind the goal, you’re then looking for a really nice cross or a set-piece to fall for you in the box.
“We didn’t get the ball into areas of the box well enough to create some chaos in and around the goal. It was nice football, but without a killer instinct.”
The pivotal moment came in the 69th minute, when Rathbone was allowed too much time and space to roam towards goal, where he picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the Blackpool box.
“It was disappointing,” Pool’s head coach said of the goal.
“It comes from a throw-in, there’s a knockdown and it comes back into him in the middle of the pitch where we should have better protection.
“As soon as it’s on his right foot, Rathbone has got quality so I was concerned and thought he could score. Fair play, because it was a great strike into the bottom corner.
“We should have defended it better though.”
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