Michael Appleton delighted to start second Blackpool stint with hard-earned Reading win

Michael Appleton was delighted to start his second stint as Blackpool boss with a hard-earned win.

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Blackpool start the new season with a win thanks to Callum Connolly's rocket aga...

An early Callum Connolly strike was enough for the Seasiders to claim a 1-0 victory against Reading in their first game of the season.

Appleton’s men played some sublime football in the first-half, but were forced to hold on during the second period as Paul Ince’s side came on strong.

“I thought we started really fast, we were excellent in the first 30 minutes and should have been 2 or 3-0 up,” he said.

“But when you don’t take those opportunities you give the opposition a chance at this level and I thought the back end of the first-half was a little bit scrappy.

“Then when you see the chance Josh (Bowler) has, it hits the post and it comes back and it goes to the keeper, that gave them a lift.

“They played well for the last 30 minutes and we had to dig in and defend really well.

A delighted Michael Appleton

“It was a long second-half but I was quite calm. As a group we’re a work in progress and we’ve had to make lots of changes throughout the game.

“It wasn’t just a case of game management, one or two were with knocks and niggles, but we’re asking Callum to play full-back and he got his goal today which we’re delighted with.

"We’re asking players to do slightly different roles than they normally would, like Lewis (Fiorini) playing as a six.

“But if we can keep picking wins up and points up knowing there’s so much more to come, it’s obviously the best way of doing it.”

The Seasiders made an electric start and had Reading on the ropes for the first 20 to 30 minutes – but Connolly’s strike was all they had to show for it.

“I asked the players to get off to a fast start and I knew the crowd would get right behind us and they were fantastic, the noise was incredible early noise,” Appleton added.

“The only thing I was disappointed with was that it was only 1-0 at half-time because the only threat they had in the first-half was in the transition when we were sloppy and gave a couple of passes away.

“I think it’s important, not just in a home game but any game to get off to a fast start because you want to get on the front foot and pin the opposition back.”

While Blackpool were on the backfoot for much of the second-half, they maintained their shape and limited the Royals to hopeful balls into the box.

“They changed their shape a little bit after 10 minutes and it caused us a few issues,” Pool’s head coach said.

“I thought their experience showed in the second-half. There’s probably seven or eight players in their group who are far superior from an experience point of view than we are and that showed.

“That showed and I made the players aware of that, but I know as well as anyone that to create a bit of momentum you need to win games and to create confidence and get better you certainly need to win games and we’ve been good enough to do that today.”