Blackpool show boss Simon Grayson they can grind out wins with battling victory over Oxford
Simon Grayson says Saturday’s hard-fought win against Oxford United demonstrates Blackpool’s ability to win games ugly.
But that wasn’t the case at the weekend as Grayson’s men were very much second-best against a dominant Oxford side.
But second-placed Pool held on and ground out the win to maintain their 100 per cent start to the campaign – the first time the Seasiders have won their opening three league games since 2012.
Grayson said: “From day one I said to the players we will have to win matches in different fashions.
“In the first game of the season against Bristol Rovers, we showed a real slick style of football. Second game we played a slick style of football again but then ground it out with 10 men.
“This game, we’ve played poorly but ground the result out and won it. I’ve said I will change things and I thought we needed to be more compact.
“They were getting too many players forward and they were causing us too many problems in great areas for them.
“But the lads have got big hearts and they’ve made sure they saw the game out to get a positive result.”
Ryan Edwards headed home after just five minutes – his first goal in a Blackpool shirt – while Armand Gnanduillet struck from the penalty spot.
This was very much against the run of play but made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.
But Oxford struck back immediately through Josh Ruffels to set up a breathless second half, in which Blackpool had to weather the storm to hold firm for the win.
Grayson added: “It doesn’t matter how you score as long as you get the ball in the back of the net.
“We’ve got players who have got a good delivery and we’ve got players who are aggressive when making runs.
“I’m delighted with Jordan Thompson’s delivery and for Ryan to get his goal, and then Armand slots his penalty away.
“If we had gone in at 2-0 it would have given us an opportunity to re-address the situation but it was just one of those games where we just weren’t at it.
“I also think there were decisions that both teams thought were a bit controversial.
“I think we could have had another penalty when Jordan Thompson goes down in the second half.
“But I’ll be honest, we’ve got something out of the game when we probably didn’t deserve to.”
When asked to put his finger why on his Blackpool side didn’t hit the high levels of the Bristol Rovers and Southend games, Grayson said: “The ball retention was poor. When we got it back we gave it away straight away.
“That was the case even in the last couple of minutes. I’m not picking on Nick Anderton but he opts to cross it when he should have taken it to the corner.
“Hopefully these lads will learn from these experiences when we get into these positions in another game.
“We have to keep the ball better. There’s no point just lumping it back and inviting pressure because you’re not going to see a game out every week by doing that.”