Terry McPhillips says Blackpool’s backs-against-the-wall win at in-form Gillingham sends out a “statement” to the rest of League One.
The Seasiders recovered from back-to-back league defeats with a 1-0 victory at Priestfield Stadium.
The Gills came into the game on the back of 4-0 and 3-0 home wins but were unable to get past Blackpool’s defence, who kept a ninth clean sheet of the campaign.
Nathan Delfouneso bagged his fourth goal of the season early in the second half to seal three points which lifted Pool four places to ninth – three points outside the play-offs with a game in hand on most teams above them.
Manager McPhillips said: “I think to come here and to get the points after the week we’ve had puts a statement out.
“Credit to the lads because I know there are some tired bodies. I know that because the staff are tired, so the players must be as well.
“I think after the week we had previous to this (it was Pool’s fourth game in 11 days), to come here, keep a clean sheet and get three points is outstanding.
“We scored an outstanding goal which was assisted by Chris Taylor, so it’s nice to see him back. He put in a great ball for Nathan to head in, so that was good.
“They threw the kitchen sink, didn’t they? They play high tempo and they’ve got some good players.
“They’re on the back of a 4-0 and a 3-0 here, so we’re delighted to keep a clean sheet and get the points.
“I think that after the week we had, with the Fleetwood game and the Arsenal game and all the travelling, we were really affected by that on Saturday against Bristol Rovers (who won 3-0 at Bloomfield Road).
“So to come back down here, a long journey on a Tuesday night, and play a top team at the moment who are playing really well for a top manager, it’s a brilliant result for us.”
Centre-backs Curtis Tilt and Ben Heneghan were outstanding for Blackpool, keeping the league’s top goalscorer Tom Eaves quiet.
But there was another man who stood out for the Blackpool boss, who added: “I’m going to pick out Ollie Turton out. I thought he was outstanding from start to finish. I thought he was our best player in the first half.
“Tilty and Heneghan have kept the league’s top scorer quiet to a degree. I know big Tom as I used to coach him and he’s a real handful.
“To a man everyone worked their socks off, and Jordan Thompson comes on and showed a bit of class.”
Blackpool’s U18s progressed to the third round of the FA Youth Cup with a 2-1 win over Scunthorpe United after extra-time at Glanford Park last night.
Nathan Shaw opened the scoring and Sean Graham netted the winner.