John Murphy says his Blackpool side’s dream run to the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup shows just what can be achieved through hard work.
READ MORE: John Murphy in dreamland over cup win
The young Seasiders pulled off yet another shock win on Tuesday, when they came from behind to beat Blackburn Rovers 3-2 at Ewood Park.
That was Pool’s third win against a Category One academy side, having already seen off West Ham United and Southampton on their way to the last four of the competition.
They now face a two-legged semi-final against Premier League giants Arsenal, who beat Colchester United 5-1.
The away tie is likely to take place at The Emirates and could be screened live on ITV4.
Murphy, who made over 200 appearances for Blackpool as a striker during an eight-year spell, says this achievement beats anything he achieved during his playing career.
“It’s more special as a coach,” he said. “When you’re a player your only responsibility is your own job.
“I had to do what I was good at and Brett (Ormerod) up front had to get himself going, while Richie Wellens did his thing in midfield.
“But I feel in charge of these lads, and when they do what you’re asking them to it makes you feel all the prouder.
“So it’s probably above a playing perspective because it’s of a bigger magnitude.
“But all the credit has to go to the players – I’m just a guide but they’re listening to what we tell them.
“We keep telling them, ‘If you can’t do it, just try. Have a go. You never know where it might take you.’
“That’s what our attitude has been in this competition this season.
“They say hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Well, I believe we’ve got talent, so when talent works hard where can you go?
“So it’s fantastic for these lads and their careers. It’s on their CV. It’s been a fabulous evening.
“I think Arsenal won 5-,1 so they’re not going to be mugs, are they? But it keeps our season going.
“We’ve played at a few decent grounds now, which is a great experience for the players. And I believe it’s Arsenal in the next round? We’ll give them a game.”
Blackpool looked to be cruising on Tuesday when Blackburn were reduced to 10 men after Finlay Sinclair-Smith had given the Seasiders the lead with a close-range finish.
But the home side lifted their game and scored twice to turn the game on its head.
But two goals in the final five minutes from Will Dunne and Rowan Roache respectively sparked passionate celebrations from the men in tangerine.
“I can’t describe my emotions in the second half. I was trying to kick every ball,” Murphy said.
“I don’t know how many times the woodwork has been rattled but it’s not lucky from us. People might think we’re the luckiest team in the world but no, we had the chances.
“Our players have got resilience but they’ve also got quality.
“I can’t do it for them. I’m fairly limited in what I can do, I can only guide them but the players deserve all the credit.
“The crowd were great because it was like a Punch and Judy show. You had our fans on one side and their fans on the other.
“We were up for it. We were buzzing, and then their tales were up and they’re trying to rouse their crowd. It was just a phenomenal evening ... another one.
“I’ve got everyone texting me. I’ve never been so popular.”
According to the FA’s website, Blackpool’s semi-final ties against Arsenal must be played by April 7, with the Blackpool leg first, although fixture dates for this competition are normally fairly flexible.