Neil Critchley frustrated his Blackpool side were unable to land a 'knockout blow' during Birmingham City defeat

Neil Critchley felt his Blackpool side were punished for failing to land a “knockout blow” during today’s defeat to Birmingham City.

Saturday, 27th November 2021, 6:05 pm
Updated Saturday, 27th November 2021, 6:08 pm

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Birmingham City 1-0 Blackpool: Seasiders condemned to disappointing away defeat ...

Neil Critchley felt his Blackpool side were punished for failing to land a “knockout blow” during today’s defeat to Birmingham City.

The Seasiders dominated for large swathes of the game at St Andrew’s, but lacked a killer touch and composure in the final third.

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Some good chances were squandered, the clearest falling to substitute Josh Bowler who was denied by an impressive stop from goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

But the hosts, who had previously only threatened from long throws and set pieces, stole the points nine minutes from time through substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz.

There was some fortune involved in the winning goal too, as the experienced striker - who appeared to be in an offside position - bundled home from close range with his thigh despite knowing very little about it.

Reflecting on the defeat, Critchley said: “I felt they were on the ropes ready to be knocked out but we didn’t deliver that knockout punch unfortunately.

Critchley applauds the Blackpool fans at the final whistle

“We let them get back off the ropes and fight their way back into the contest, which is what they did.

“It’s a difficult one to take. I’m really disappointed with the outcome of the game.

“We were the better team in the first-half, we were in the ascendancy and we had some good moments.

“We attacked well, we counter-attacked well, moved the ball well but we needed to score in that period of the game.

“You knew at half-time Birmingham would come out and throw a few more balls forward if that was even possible for them, because that’s what they do.

“You know they might have some momentum in the game but they didn’t really, they didn’t have much concerted pressure on our goal.

“We’ve been quite comfortable in the game but you always run the risk when you don’t score at one end that it only takes one ball into the box which falls for them from a long ball into the box, whether that’s a long throw, a cross or a corner, and that’s what happened.

“It’s played into the box, it flicked off someone and hit someone who was arguably in an offside position and it’s gone into the goal.”

Critchley’s main frustration was his side’s poor composure going forward, especially during the first-half.

“We’ve not done enough and our play in the final third wasn’t good enough, and that’s a collective thing not an individual thing,” he added.

“The amount of times we were in good positions but failed was extremely disappointing to say the least.

“All the way through the game our set-pieces weren’t particularly good and we put an enormous amount of pressure on our defensive organisation.

“If we’re going to get anything from a game, we’ve got to score more than one goal otherwise we have to keep a clean sheet or concede just one goal to get a draw.

“We’ve got to do more and again, that’s a collective effort, it’s all the players.

“It’s not always the final pass or the final shot, it’s the pass before the final pass because we’re getting into loads of dangerous situations.

“You’re stood there thinking we’re in with a real chance of causing a problem or two, but we fail because it gets blocked, we kick it off a defender, it gets played off the pitch or something like that.

“At this level, you can get punished and we got punished against Birmingham.”

Prior to conceding, Pool also had a strong shout for a penalty turned down when substitute Shayne Lavery was brought down in the box.

When asked if he felt it was a spot kick, Critchley said: “Possibly, he gets their first.

“You could say he’s already going to ground but I didn’t expect the referee to give it to be honest. I honestly didn’t. I didn’t think we’d get anything from the referee.

“He’s not the reason why we lost by the way, that was our fault. But all game he made some bewildering decisions. He was poor for both teams.

“His general decision making was inconsistent, which leads to so much confusion on the pitch and on the touchline. You don’t know what you’re going to get from the officials.

“I don’t think it was his greatest day.”

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