Michael Appleton slams Blackpool's 'passive' first-half display during Stoke City defeat

Michael Appleton felt his side’s passiveness and lack of aggression during the first-half was to blame for Blackpool’s 2-0 defeat to Stoke City.

Saturday, 6th August 2022, 6:05 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th August 2022, 8:27 pm

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Blackpool suffer first defeat of the season during lacklustre display at Stoke C...

Goals in either half from Harry Clarke and Jacob Brown condemned the Seasiders to their first defeat of the season.

The Seasiders played Stoke far too much, especially during a drab first-half where they only invited pressure on themselves.

While the away side did improve slightly in the second period, it was nowhere near enough to get a result.

Defensively Blackpool were poor, with both goals coming via left-wing crosses. In attack, meanwhile, they were far too reliant on Josh Bowler to create anything of note.

But it was Blackpool’s below-par first-half display which Appleton opted to focus on.

“The first-half wasn’t how I’d want any of my teams to approach a game, certainly without the ball and it won’t happen again,” he said.

Blackpool boss Michael Appleton

“I was pleased with the second-half and I was pleased with the response, because I thought we played well.

“I thought we certainly made a fist of it and made a game of it, but obviously the way the first-half went the damage was done.

“The first goal was a fantastic ball in, but I still would have liked us to have dealt with the ball in at the back post a bit better.

“The second one wasn’t acceptable. There were a couple of players who had a bad day and they know it, but on the first one I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt in terms of delivery into the box.”

When asked to put his finger on why his side were so poor in the first-half, Appleton added: “We were just so passive, we weren’t aggressive enough.

“We probably had 50 per cent of the team who wanted to be brave and get on the ball and the rest were a little bit tentative and it was a little bit too much for them.

“The only way you can do that is take responsibility and I saw signs in the second-half of players taking responsibility and wanting to get on the ball, pass the ball forward and run forward. When you do that it puts the opposition on the back foot and you ask questions and at least we did that in the second-half.”