Lee Clark finally admitted Blackpool will be relegated after a 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth which he described as “soul-destroying”.
Brett Pitman scored a first-half hat-trick before Callum Wilson’s penalty three minutes after the break completed a very comfortable afternoon for the Championship leaders.
This was the fifth consecutive defeat for a Pool side with just two points to show for their last nine games.
The gap between Clark’s side and safety has increased to 18 points with nine games remaining, and their relegation could be confirmed this weekend after the back-to-back home games against Charlton (tomorrow) and Leeds.
And to say the manager wasn’t happy is an understatement. “I’m very angry. I’m furious,” he blasted. “At half-time I was the most angry I’ve been and it’s not acceptable. I’m not prepared to accept it.
“I know we went to the team at the top of the table and in my opinion the best team, but we’ve had such a negative mindset.
“I set the team up with two strikers in a 4-4-2 to take them on and be positive, and we worked this week on how we should go about it.
“We know they’re an outstanding team but we thought the best way to counteract that was to take the game to them.
“We just gave away absolutely shocking goals that shouldn’t be given away in professional football.
“It’s soul-destroying for me and I feel for the supporters who made the long journey down again. It is not acceptable.”
Pool have lost three of their last five away games 4-0, having shipped seven at Watford, and Clark added: “To keep coming to these teams at the top of the table and being lambs to the slaughter is not acceptable. We’re going down by a massive margin.”
Pitman was allowed time and space to run past a sea of Pool players for the opener after 10 minutes, adding two in as many minutes later in the half.
Clark added: “Bournemouth didn’t have to play that well to beat us. They probably held something back.
“We didn’t concede a particularly good first goal – Pitman has gone unchallenged for 30 yards before his shot.
“Before the game my dressing room was extremely quiet. Across the corridor, it wasn’t like that in the Bournemouth dressing room – that said it all.
“It’s about self-motivation. You’ve got to have high standards and a lot of questions have to be asked at the moment.
“We had talked about what Bournemouth would do and what they were good at – and they never came up with anything unexpected, so we’ve got to be better. That wasn’t what we worked on this week.”