Neil Critchley defends decision to keep faith with 4-4-2 system with Elliot Embleton playing on the wing during Blackpool's defeat to Shrewsbury

Neil Critchley has defended his decision to keep faith with his 4-4-2 system and utilise attacking-midfielder Elliot Embleton on the right flank during Blackpool’s defeat to Shrewsbury Town yesterday.

Sunday, 25th April 2021, 8:30 am

Read More

Read More
Blackpool 0-1 Shrewsbury Town: Play-off hopes suffer another big blow as six-mon...

The 22-year-old is usually at his best when playing in a number 10 role, just off the centre forward.

However, the Sunderland loanee initially impressed playing out on the right in a role which allowed him to roam inside, giving license to the right-back to surge forward into the space.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But, with Pool coming up against two sides that sat back and kept space to a minimum in their last two outings, Embleton has been kept quiet.

When asked by The Gazette why Embleton continues to be used on the right wing, Critchley said: “He’s played on the right quite a few times and we wanted to go with two centre forwards.

“They changed their shape, they played differently and when you play at home the onus is on you to attack and take the game to the opposition.

“We always try and analyse and think about what type of game we’ll face and which is the best team to choose to play against the opposition.

Elliot Embleton was largely kept in the shadows during Blackpool's defeat to Shrewsbury yesterday

“You know the game can change depending on goals or the longer the games goes on more space opens up on the pitch.

“That was always our plan and unfortunately it’s not quite worked out for us, but I can’t fault the effort of the players.”

Tuesday night’s poor performance against Rochdale led to suggestions that Pool could move away from their favoured 4-4-2 formation, instead opting to start in a 4-2-3-1 system with Embleton playing behind Jerry Yates and Demetri Mitchell coming into the side to play on the wing.

But Critchley largely kept faith with the side that lost 1-0 at Spotland, making just one change with Jordan Gabriel replacing Ollie Turton at right-back.

Critchley eventually moved to a 4-2-3-1 midway through the second-half yesterday after Shrewsbury had taken the lead courtesy of Matt Pennington’s header.

But Embleton was given just seven minutes in the role before being replaced by Ethan Robson.

“You just have to try and search for a different solution,” Pool’s head coach added.

“We brought Ellis (Simms) off, we brought Elliot off, our little bit of frustration at half-time was the amount of times we turned the ball over in the final third, so there’s only so long you wait before you think ‘well if the players on the pitch aren’t producing it, then you need to look from elsewhere’.

“You have to remember it’s a squad game and the players that come on are desperate to make an impact.”

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here