Simon Grayson praises his Blackpool players for 'important' victory against AFC Wimbledon
Simon Grayson spoke of his satisfaction at the way his Blackpool players stuck at it to earn a richly deserved 2-0 victory against AFC Wimbledon.
An Armand Gnanduillet brace helped the Seasiders on their way to their fourth straight win in all competitions, a result that elevates them back into the League One play-offs.
With Wimbledon languishing in 20th place in the table, many observers would have expected Pool to win comfortably.
But Grayson says this encounter was always going to be more difficult than many had imagined against a Wimbledon side that defended in numbers throughout.
“It was an important win for us today," the Pool boss said.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game because of the results they’ve had recently, beating the likes of Portsmouth and Southend and drawing with Doncaster.
“We knew they would be hard working, they would get bodies behind the ball and make it difficult for us.
“We had to make sure we were defensively sound and in the first half I thought we were okay, they didn’t cause us many problems.
“Offensively we just needed a bit more intensity in our play, pass the ball a bit quicker and make some better decisions when we got in the final third. We carried that out in the second half.
“You have to be patient though, because you can’t just be gung-ho all the time because teams can hurt you.
“They will stay in the game and make it difficult for you and I’m sure their manager will have gone in at half time and told the players it was a good, professional performance.
“We knew we needed to be a little bit better but once we got the first goal, it opened it up a little bit more and we looked like we could have added a couple more without ever looking like we were going to concede, which is important.”
Pool had to be patient, with both of their goals coming in the second half.
They could, however, have gone ahead early on when Sullay Kaikai thundered a swerving strike against the crossbar after just six minutes.
“The last few games we’ve had the crossbar hit a few times so we’ll accept that we can hit the woodwork every now and again," Grayson added.
“You’re looking for that first goal, especially when you’re at home playing teams who are going to make life difficult.
“We had to make sure we were patient and didn’t leave the gameplan we had spoken about before the game.
“Full credit to the players, they showed a good attitude and good character and it was a professional performance with a clean sheet as well.”