'If anything we were the better team': Neil Critchley's take on Blackpool's abject derby defeat to Preston

Neil Critchley believes Blackpool were arguably the better side in their abject derby defeat to Preston North End.

Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 10:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 12:04 am

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Blackpool’s quest to complete a first double over rivals Preston in 48 years eluded them as they slumped to a disappointing defeat at Deepdale.

Cameron Archer’s effort in first-half stoppage-time was enough to separate the two sides but in truth, the Seasiders could have no complaints with the result.

Critchley’s side lacked quality throughout and were lacking in intent from the off, especially in the first-half when the damage was done by the home side.

However, Critchley - as he did against Nottingham Forest at the weekend - once again appeared to defend his side’s performance.

“It’s not the night we wanted at all,” he said.

“If anything, generally, we were the better team and the game has been decided by a moment of quality they produced which we didn’t.

Neil Critchley applauds the Blackpool fans at the full-time whistle

“I’ve said that too many times this season and I’m saying it again tonight.

“Generally, between both boxes, we had control of the game, particularly in the second-half but we’ve not done enough with our play. When we did get near their box, we failed - poor choice, poor quality…

“I thought we handled the occasion. We weren’t outfought, out-battled or out-run, but the difference is their striker produced a moment of quality which we didn’t and that’s the fine margins which we’re on the wrong side of, which is hard to take in a derby game.”

Pool were especially short on invention in the second-half when Preston were happy to sit back and soak up plenty of pressure.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between and too often the Seasiders resorted to hopeful balls into the box, which Preston gobbled up with ease.

“We had some good opportunities in the first-half in and around the goal, some blocked shots, we got into some good areas and again it didn’t quite go for us,” Critchley added.

“You can have that and we’re in that sort of moment a little bit. We were in good rhythm and the break perhaps hasn’t helped.

“Near the end of the game we were getting balls into the box and it’s just not happening for us, it didn’t happen for us tonight.

“It wasn’t for the want of trying, but we’ve not tested the goalkeeper enough in the second-half.

“We managed their counter-attacks pretty well and they’ve not really caused us a lot of problems, apart from a few set-pieces and stuff.

“I don’t want to say too much but it’s a foul leading up to the goal. Keshi goes down on the edge of the box, he’s caught, why would he go down? The referee didn’t give it and it leads to the goal and that’s what has decided the game.”

The result means both sides share a win apiece this season in the derby, but this result is one that will sting for Blackpool fans.

“We had our day, if you like, earlier in the season and tonight is Preston’s night,” Critchley said.

“It’s always hard to talk straight after a game but it sort of sums up our season a little bit, we’re nearly there.

“There was nothing in the game, if anything we were the better team. But it’s about results, isn’t it? We’re in a results business.

“We’ve not done enough to force the goalkeeper into action tonight, although Maxi has had nothing to do either.

“Both committed teams, we had a real go and one moment has decided the game. That’s what won Preston the game.”