Neil Critchley: Time for Blackpool to rise to next level

Neil Critchley believes his Blackpool side need to make the step-up from a good team to a very good team.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 8:00 am

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It comes after the Seasiders were held to a third straight home draw on Saturday, a goalless stalemate against neighbours Fleetwood Town.

Blackpool are still well-placed in the league table, sitting five points off the play-offs in 12th with two games in hand, but Critchley knows they must take their game to the next level if they are to become legitimate challengers.

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Neil Critchley was frustrated that Blackpool could not take their chances against Fleetwood

Critchley told The Gazette: “We’re obviously hard to beat and we’re very close to being a very good football team.

“That’s the frustrating part. We’re good at this moment in time but we’re not prepared to just settle for that – we want to be very good.

“We’ve got to find a way of winning these games. On Saturday we haven’t done that, unfortunately.

“We now face a really in-form team on Tuesday night in Burton and we’re going to have to be at our best if we want to win that game.”

The Seasiders have lost just one of their last 11 games and remain unbeaten on home turf since October.

But while they’ve been excellent defensively all season, it’s at the other end of the pitch where they have struggled at times, scoring just 36 goals in 31 games.

The head coach added: “As a team we’re well organised and hard to beat, and we’ve created a lot of chances against Fleetwood – more than we have in a lot of games recently.

“It was just really frustrating that one of those chances didn’t hit the back of the net to help us pick up three points.

“Kyle Vassell is a real handful up front. But other than the chance he had late on in the second half, when he put it over, we’ve limited him to virtually nothing in the game.

“I thought the back four were excellent.

Critchley’s side probably performed better during their goalless draw against Fleetwood on Saturday than they did in midweek, when they were 1-0 winners against MK Dons.

But such are the fine margins in League One, the Seasiders were forced to settle for a point after squandering several clear-cut chances.

“Tuesday was a different performance,” Critchley said. “Against MK Dons you’re not going to dominate the ball – it’s just not going to happen with the way they set up.

“We showed a completely different side to our game on Tuesday but I thought this was a much better performance than Crewe or Wimbledon in our previous home games.

“We’ve got the same outcome but we weren’t winning 1-0, hanging on and disappointed that we drew.

“We were in the ascendancy for pretty much most of the game, especially in the second half, and some of the football and control of the game was a lot better than we had against Crewe and Wimbledon.”

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