Blackpool’s season hit rock-bottom with an embarrassing second-half collapse in their 7-2 walloping at Watford.
Andrea Orlandi’s first Pool goal and Steven Davies’ fourth of the season handed the Seasiders a shock 2-0 half-time lead before their incredible collapse.
Lee Clark’s side were behind within nine minutes of the restart, conceding seven in 36 minutes in an unforgivable half which rightly left the manager furious.
Clark said: “At 10 to four it was looking fantastic – at 10 to five it was embarrassing, that’s the easiest way to put it. We’re deeply embarrassed by that second half.
“To concede seven goals in any game, never mind a half, is very disappointing and frustrating.”
Clark’s call for his side to take more risks in attacking areas looked to be paying off only for Odion Ighalo to score four for the Hornets, with Troy Deeney, Matej Vydra and Gabriele Angella adding to Pool’s humiliation.
Though 40 per cent of their Championship games are still to be played, Blackpool’s survival hopes look dead and buried as they remain nine points from safety, with fourth-bottom Rotherham now having a game in hand.
And the manager, who surprisingly dropped regular keeper Joe Lewis in a “tactical decision”, said he was baffled by the second-half display.
Clark added: “At half-time I praised them at first and talked about how well they’d done. We had frustrated them and scored two good goals. We’d played well and the game plan was good.
“But I told them the next 15-20 minutes would be crucial.
“We had to be solid. We didn’t have to go out and be gung-ho. We didn’t want to create space for the attacking prowess of Watford.
“We talked about not conceding, never mind conceding three in the first nine minutes.
“Within a minute they scored but we were still 2-1 up. We didn’t handle the setback well enough. It just went from bad to worse.
“We knew Watford would do something a bit different but we didn’t do what we wanted.
“They put us on the back foot and we never recovered.”
Clark refused to criticise his players publicly when he emerged from a 45-minute dressing-room lock-down after Saturday’s capitulation.
The manager’s post-match comments surprised many as he appeared to protect his players.
Clark said: “I fully understand that supporters will be angry and frustrated but the game is changing, personnel and personalities in the game.
“To publicly lash anybody or anything is counter-productive and is not going to help us in the next 19 games.
“I’m not ducking what I’ve got to do. The players will tell you it’s far from that.
“It’s a dressing room that’s really hurt but we can’t curl up in a ball and hide in a corner.
“We’ve got to make sure we go again on the training ground and try to do better next week against Brighton.
“I have to be constructive. It’s easy to go in and rant and rave, but confidence can be fragile and we have to get that back.
“I’m not hiding from my obligations. We’re all at fault for what happened.
“We’ll take all the flak that is going to come our way in the next few days, and rightly so.”
Watford boss Slavisa Jokanovic also denied hitting the roof when his side trailed 2-0 at half-time.
The Serb claimed he said “nothing” in the dressing room to provoke his side’s astonishing seven-goal assault.
Jokanovic said: “At half-time we decided to put one midfielder more on and play with one defender less. I didn’t speak so much, really.
“I explained we can resolve the problem if we play some football, make some passes and all fight together. I believed we could change our situation.
“We scored many goals but the first was probably the most important.”