Neil Critchley provides honest assessment as Blackpool share points with Burton Albion to draw fourth straight game at Bloomfield Road

Neil Critchley provided an honest assessment of Blackpool’s 1-1 draw against Burton Albion - their fourth draw on the spin at Bloomfield Road.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 9:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 10:00 pm

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Neil Critchley provided an honest assessment of Blackpool’s 1-1 draw against Burton Albion - their fourth draw on the spin at Bloomfield Road.

The Seasiders deservedly trailed 1-0 at half-time, as Hayden Carter scored for a Burton side that had won their last six games.

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Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

But a half-time change swung the game in Blackpool’s favour, levelling through Luke Garbutt’s first goal for the club.

The game ended 1-1, as the Seasiders extended their unbeaten run to eight games, leaving Critchley’s side five points off the play-offs with four games in hand.

“I thought the first 25 minutes to first half an hour was as bad as we’ve been for a long time,” Critchley said.

“We were second best all over the pitch in and out of possession and when you’re meeting a team like Burton who are in form and full of confidence, you don’t want to give them any impetus in the game, but we did.

“Just with the law of averages with them getting the ball into the box so many times, it only has to fall for them once.

“We actually had a warning just before the goal from a long throw-in and then we didn’t defend properly from a second phase at a corner, so we deserved to be losing at that point.

“That got a positive reaction from us during the last 10 to 15 minutes of the first-half and we started to get the ball down and pass it and you could see we were starting to get some success.

“That was the message at half-time, we slightly changed it and it made a difference in the second-half.

“We deservedly equalised, but again - similar to Saturday - we’ve not been able to convert our possession and territory into goals.

“The first 25 minutes though is what has cost us the three points.”

The pivotal moment came at half-time, when striker Ellis Simms was withdrawn and Sunderland loanee Elliot Embleton introduced off the bench.

The change in personnel and formation saw the Seasiders pick up possession in the gaps and sustain spells of pressure in the Burton half.

“We just felt when we were moving the ball around the pitch, they want to come after you and they want to press, but they leave space,” Critchley explained.

“If you’re brave and you can move them around, then spaces can appear and we thought Elliot in that space behind the midfield players would cause them a problem.

“We also thought it would give us a bit more intelligence and technical quality on the pitch and Elliot made a big difference in that respect.

“We scored when we were on top, but we didn’t keep it going. It became a bit more even again after that and that disappointed me.

“I honestly felt when it was 1-1, if we had maintained the way we were playing at that point then we’d go on and win the game.”

Sullay Kaikai summed up Blackpool’s performance, providing an anonymous display in the first-half before coming to life in the second period.

“I thought he epitomised the performance from a lot of players,” Critchley agreed.

“What we need to show in the first 25 minutes is a bit more bravery and courage to play under pressure, but we didn’t do that.

“If you don’t keep the ball against a team that like to press you then they get on top of you. Then it looks like you’re defending a lot.

“If you’re not brave enough to accept the ball under pressure, then that is what happens. But we’ve got enough quality in our team to be doing far, far better than what we were doing in the first half an hour.”

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