Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer hailed another fine performance from his players – but another which ended in defeat.
The Seasiders’ Carabao Cup involvement ended with a 2-1 loss to Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium last night despite them being the better of the teams.
They were left to rue first-half goals by Josh Laurent and former Seasiders loanee Jordan Flores despite pulling a goal back after the break and having other good chances to score.
“We’ve created several great opportunities and, having made the changes we did, it was an opportunity for people to stake their claim,” Bowyer said.
“I’m pleased at how we’ve played in both games so far in terms of the performance and how we’re asking them to play more football.
“However, it’s all about winning football matches and unfortunately in our first two games, we haven’t won those matches.”
Both managers had said in advance they would make changes from the opening day for last night’s encounter.
Both were as good as their word, with Bowyer changing nine of the team that lost at Bradford and Wigan counterpart Paul Cook selecting an entirely different line-up.
Despite those changes, a number of Blackpool players put up their hands to be considered for selection next time out.
Sean Longstaff was a steady presence in midfield, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Viv Solomon-Otabor caused problems out wide and Armand Gnanduillet was a physical presence up front.
Gnanduillet also thought he had halved the Seasiders’ deficit with the hour approaching but, post-match, defender Peter Hartley was claiming the final touch.
While there are things to work on at both ends of the pitch, notably taking chances and stopping defensive errors, Bowyer was more than happy with what he had seen.
“We look a threat going forwards but it’s now just that final pass and the decision making in the final third,” he said.
“That’s something we have to keep working hard on; we can’t keep coming off and saying what we did or didn’t do.
“Sean Longstaff is a lovely footballer; I said to him he’s going to be a hell of a footballer when he grows.
“We have to look after that in terms of picking the right games for him to play but he’s definitely a fantastic footballer and he’s got a great future ahead of him.”
Having won promotion to League One, the challenge for Bowyer was always to build a squad capable of matching higher profile clubs with squads to match.
Having impressed in defeat at Bradford and Wigan in their opening two games, the manager is now looking for those hard luck stories to become ones of victories.
He said: “We want a competitive squad and we certainly feel we have that now but we want to keep pushing and find that winning formula for the performances that we are producing.
“We knew this season was going to be tough for us when we come up against the resources of other clubs.
“We have a lot of work to do but I’m pleased with the start we have made in terms of the level of performances.
“Now we just have to pick up a couple of wins which will give us a hell of a lot of confidence.”