Joey Barton relieved after Bristol Rovers' nightmare campaign finally comes to an end with final-day defeat to Blackpool
Joey Barton admitted there was a sense of relief after Bristol Rovers' nightmare League One campaign came to an end with a 1-0 defeat to Blackpool.
The Seasiders ended the regular campaign with a fourth straight win thanks to Ellis Simms' second-half strike.
It secured a third-placed finish and sets up a play-off semi-final against Oxford United, who leapfrogged Portsmouth into sixth place.
For Bristol Rovers, their defeat capped off a miserable campaign which sees them finish bottom of the table, 10 points adrift of safety.
“It’s tough when you’re getting beat all the time, but I thought the lads gave everything they’ve got," former Fleetwood Town boss Barton said of today's game.
"We just can’t score at the minute which makes it even harder when you’ve got your alleged strikers on the pitch, but we’ve not even had that today.
"We had to go with (winger) Alex Rodman up there and I thought he did well, barring not getting a goal but there were some good bits of defending. That’s really been the story of the season.
"Jed Ward comes in and makes his debut at 17 and I thought he was outstanding, so for me that is something I can take forward. It would have been nice for him to get a clean sheet because I think his performance deserved that, but unfortunately at the moment we can’t score and we can’t keep clean sheets.
"It’s tough, but for me there’s almost a relief in terms of the job really starts. Everything that happens from here is my responsibility in terms of who comes in, who goes out, the training, the physical condition they’re in, the tactical information they take on board, it becomes mine.
"But before everyone pointed fingers at what went wrong and the reasons behind it, so it’s difficult to come in during the midst of that and get results.
"The lads tried gallantly, but they cut too many corners and in this game you can’t do that.
"It’s been a strange season. Imagine it here today, Blackpool have finished third and had a great season, this place would have been full and the Gasheads would have come up for a night on the town and it would have made for a buoyant atmosphere."
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