Blackpool players are challenged to improve further after Swindon Town victory

Neil Critchley believes there are plenty of areas where his in-form Blackpool side can still improve.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 8:00 am

The Seasiders reclaimed their spot in the League One play-offs yesterday with victory against struggling Swindon Town.

Goals in either half from Ellis Simms and Jerry Yates helped Critchley’s side on their way to a relatively comfortable 2-0 victory.

The win was Blackpool’s fifth on the spin away from home and their first triumph at the County Ground in 35 years, while they’re now unbeaten in their last 12 outings.

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Ellis Simms scores for Blackpool at Swindon Town
Ellis Simms scores for Blackpool at Swindon Town

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Neil Critchley delivers his verdict on Blackpool's comfortable win at Gillingham...

Blackpool’s head coach may have been forgiven for getting a little carried away, but it was far from the case.

Instead, Critchley wasn’t entirely satisfied with the manner in which his side saw out the game after edging two goals ahead.

“I just judge it on how the players play,” Critchley told The Gazette.

“If I think the players are capable of playing better, then regardless of the result, we want to get better and improve.

“We can improve on what we’re producing at certain stages of the game and I think we will.

“We showed that in the first half yesterday in terms of how we want to play, because we’ve had to find different ways of playing this season and we’ve done that very well.

“I said to the players, ‘When we’re winning, we’ve got to be better in possession and we’ve got to be better on the ball’.

“That’s probably a reason why we’ve conceded late on in some of our home games recently, it’s been more of an attacking reason than a defensive reason.”

A few eyebrows were raised before kick-off when Critchley decided to drop Demetri Mitchell to the bench, despite the winger producing a man-of-the-match display during the 2-2 draw against Plymouth Argyle last week.

It was a move that paid off though, as Elliot Embleton enjoyed a fine game and Simms, the man to replace Mitchell in the team, bagged Pool’s opening goal.

“It was difficult because I thought he was excellent last week, especially in the second half,” Critchley said of Mitchell’s omission.

“We wanted to pick the team we felt would give Swindon the most problems.

“By playing Sullay and Elliot in behind their midfield two with Kenny (Dougall) and Wardy (Grant Ward), we felt we could outnumber them and give their wing-backs a problem in terms of whether they were going to step in or not.

“I thought Elliot showed real control in the middle of the pitch in the first half and we thought Demi could still play his part with his pace late on in the game when it opened up. That’s how the game transpired.

“It was a tactical reason, it was nothing to do with Demi’s performance and he’ll come back into contention for Gillingham on Monday.”

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