Blackpool's loss at AFC Wimbledon provided plenty of learning

Neil Critchley believes Blackpool’s harrowing defeat to AFC Wimbledon earlier in the campaign turned out to be a vital learning curve for his players.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 12:30 pm

The Dons, who make the trip to Bloomfield Road for the return fixture this weekend, ran out 1-0 winners against the nine men of Pool, who had both Ethan Robson and Dan Ballard sent off.

It capped a miserable start to the season for Critchley’s side, who lost six of their opening nine league games.

“It was a game amongst that spell of games where everything seemed to be going against us,” he said.

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Neil Critchley and his Blackpool players endured a frustrating night at AFC Wimbledon

“We were getting punished for mistakes, decisions were going against us and it was a new group of players trying to find some form and consistency. Our performances were good but the results just weren’t backing it up.

“I have to say we found out a lot about each other that night as a group, me as the players and the players about me. I think that has benefited us.

“There was a real togetherness, a real spirit. There wasn’t a blame culture. There was real honesty within the group, and in some ways, that was a good thing to experience, even though it was longer than we wanted it to be – but maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing.

“On the night, even with 10 men and nine men, we could have got something from the game.

“It wasn’t a nice feeling to lose, but on reflection, we could take a lot of heart from our performance.”

The defeat proved to be a turning point in Blackpool’s season, with Critchley’s side suffering just four more defeats in the subsequent 19 games.

“We shouldn’t have lost some of those as well,” Critchley claimed.

“Any game we’ve won this season, I think we’ve deserved it. I’ve not looked at any game and thought ‘ooh, maybe we were a bit fortunate to win that’.

“With some of the losses, we definitely didn’t get what we deserved, so we should be higher than where we are.

“We have to go and prove that though and we have plenty of games and points to prove that.”

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