Neil Critchley apologises to Blackpool fans and questions 'application' of his players after woeful final day defeat

Neil Critchley has apologised to the Blackpool supporters that made the long trip to Peterborough United after his side dished up their worst display of the season.

Saturday, 7th May 2022, 3:43 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th May 2022, 7:10 pm

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A healthy number of Pool fans left the Fylde coast in the early hours of the morning for the 12.30pm kick-off at London Road for the club’s season finale.

But Critchley’s much-changed side dished up a woeful display to lose 5-0 to a side that’s been relegated to League One.

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It’s the first time the Seasiders have conceded five goals in a game since the 5-1 defeat that confirmed their relegation to League Two in 2016 - which also came against Posh at London Road.

And Critchley said there were no excuses for the performance, claiming his side were “miles off it”.

“It wasn’t like us at all,” he said.

“We’ve saved our worst performance until the last game of the season unfortunately, because we were miles off it. Just miles off it.

Neil Critchley shakes the hand of Posh boss Grant McCann

“We weren’t good enough all over the pitch, in possession, out of possession, defending the goal, the goals we gave away, we didn’t look like scoring, it just wasn’t good enough.

“It’s the first time in my two years here where I’ve questioned the appetite and the application of the players.

“It will leave a bitter taste in the mouth over the next six weeks before we start back in pre-season.

“I also have to have some perspective as well because it probably tells you how well we’ve done over 45 games that we’ve never been in this situation before, because it can happen in this division and unfortunately it’s happened to us today.”

Posh were the better side from the off and Chris Maxwell made at least five good saves before Jonson Clarke-Harris opened the scoring just before half-time.

But once Sammie Szmodics added a second after half-time, the result never looked in doubt and Grant McCann’s side could easily have added more to their tally.

“Normally with how we play, it’s always built on defensive organisation, how we press and our spirit and our togetherness and that gives us a platform to be in games and remain competitive,” Critchley added.

“But we just weren’t that, we just weren’t. The first 20 minutes, you could just tell we weren’t quite there.

“After they scored their first goal, we improved a little bit and had a couple of chances just before half time. Even at the start of the second-half we were okay.

“But once the second goal went in, that was it really. We just capitulated. I actually felt we gave up a little bit which was really, really disappointing.”

Critchley ended his final post-match interview of the season with an apology to the Pool supporters who still stayed behind to applaud the players off the field.

“We’ve got some players who are not here today, we’ve got some players who haven’t played for a long time and are out of rhythm, you could see that,” he said.

“But it’s my responsibility, I picked the team. I decided to bring these players today and we had enough good players on the pitch and enough experience on the pitch.

“But for various different reasons, we were miles off it and Peterborough took full advantage of that with some real high quality goals and moments of quality we were miles away from producing.

“We’ve not worked the goalie enough, we haven’t done enough in the promising situations we created and our goal was far too accessible to Peterborough’s attack.

“I really feel for the supporters who travelled in great numbers and were in great heart and spirit again. It was fantastic at the end.

“I think it’s probably the first time I’ve had to apologise to them for that performance.”