Neil Critchley: Cool heads are what Blackpool need not kneejerk reactions
Calm heads are required now Blackpool’s 16-game unbeaten run has been brought to an end.
That’s the view of head coach Neil Critchley after his side’s play-off hopes were dealt a blow by Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Rochdale.
Despite losing for the first time since February 6, their longest unbeaten run since 1968, Pool remain in the top six and three points clear of seventh-placed Oxford United, who have played two games more.
Critchley called on his players to embark on another run to get over the line.
“That’s what we’ve got to do now, go again,” he said. “I believe most of the results have gone our way, so we’re still in the play-offs with another game gone.
“We have to make sure this doesn’t affect us. It’s just one defeat in a long time. It’s about how we respond now.
“We have to stay calm, get back on the horse so to speak in training on Thursday and go again ready for Saturday.
“There are five games to go, three at home, so it’s in our hands. That’s good because we control our own destiny at the moment.
“Shrewsbury at home is next. They lost on Tuesday, so they’ve still got something to play for (not yet mathematically safe). We’ll have to produce better in the final third than what we did on Tuesday night if we’re going to win the game.”
Critchley played down suggestions that fatigue caused by Blackpool’s hectic schedule played a part in their midweek defeat.
He labelled this idea “too simplistic”, despite acknowledging that the slow start at Rochdale may have resulted from the weekend’s physical exertions against Sunderland.
Nevertheless, Pool’s head coach insists this isn’t the time to panic and says he won’t be making mass changes for the Shrews game.
Critchley said: “It’s important you don’t have a kneejerk reaction because of one bad result.
“We’re not going to rip up what we’ve been doing and make wholesale changes.
“However, I’d be lying if I said we’re not thinking about making changes because of the schedule we’re in and the run of games we’re in.
“We have a lot of games coming up, so we might be making changes anyway.
“But it won’t be because people have played badly – it’s just what we think will be right for the game. We might need different options and some freshness to the pitch.”
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