EFL Trophy journey will benefit Blackpool says Neil Critchley after defeat

Neil Critchley wouldn’t hide his disappointment at going out of the Papa John’s Trophy at Fleetwood – but the Blackpool boss believes the different players and systems used in the tournament will benefit his team.

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 8:00 am

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Blackpool returned to the scene of Saturday’s League One victory for a second-round tie which Critchley’s side lost on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.

But although Critchley and Fleetwood counterpart Joey Barton both made 10 changes to the sides which started at the weekend, the Blackpool boss felt the game lost nothing in intensity.

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Neil Critchley says Blackpool have shown they can change personnel and formations

He said: “Sometimes this competition is criticised for all the changes and therefore the games can become a bit of a non-entity but I didn’t think it was like that from either team.

“I thought both sets of players showed a really good attitude and intensity.

“We ran out of steam a bit second half but that’s understandable because a lot of those players hadn’t played for a while. Had we been a bit cuter and more experienced we could have made more of the opportunities.”

And although the result went the wrong way for Blackpool, Critchley is sure spirits around the squad can only remain high.

“We wanted to stay in the competition but we have come here and not conceded in 180 minutes,” he said.

“On the balance we could have won tonight, so we are on a good run and we want it to continue in the tough league games coming up at home to Oxford and Hull.

“Fleetwood make it difficult for you. They get the ball forward quickly but I thought we defended our goal very well.

“We’ve changed the team, the shape and the way we approach the game, but you wouldn’t think for a second that 11 was thrown together. The organisation was excellent.

“We’ve shown we can definitely change personnel and play in different ways, which will be important.

“It’s a big asset when other teams don’t know how you are going to line up and some of these lads have done themselves no harm.”