Neil Critchley on Blackpool's new style for a new division

Neil Critchley wants his Blackpool side to play more passing football in the Championship this season.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 8:34 am

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It’s been clear to see in pre-season that the Seasiders are looking to play out from the back a lot more than they did in League One.

While Critchley is asking his players to take more risks in their build-up play, he wants his team to strike a balance – not overplay and make mistakes in dangerous areas of the pitch.

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Blackpool looked to build from the back against Manchester City

After Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat at Manchester City, Critchley told The Gazette: “There’s more football played in the Championship, so if you can get control of the game it helps.

“I want us to be a possession-based team. However, I don’t want us to be playing tippy-tappy five-a-side football inside our penalty area.

“We’ve got to find a solution to what the opposition does, how they play, how they set up, how they press.

“Sometimes it might be going a bit longer, sometimes it might be building from the back. I thought at times we did it very well against Man City.

“There’s an element of risk to it but if you get it right you can be two v two, three v three or sometimes have an overload with three v two or four v three in the final third in on goal.

“We had some of those situations against City but we didn’t capitalise.”

Blackpool’s attempt to build from back to front on Tuesday was especially difficult against a side that hunts in packs and presses with a ferocious intensity.

Critchley added: “Maybe we overplayed at times but I thought we showed real courage and belief in how we wanted to play.

“We’re playing against a special football team that plays in a unique way. They have a special manager and special players.

“We said before the game we’ve got to practise being us, forget the scoreboard. I was proud of how we played.

“The way they press is fierce. They’re just a top team. In possession they’re exceptional. But out of possession, the way they move together as a team and time the press is very difficult to play against because it’s so co-ordinated.

“I felt after the first few minutes we started to get some success and they actually came off us a little bit. Second half we probably overplayed a little bit and didn’t look forward enough.

“When we did break their press, we got into some really dangerous situations that we failed from.”

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