Simon Grayson praises players' battling qualities as Blackpool reach EFL Trophy knockout stages
Simon Grayson praised his players' desire to keep going until the end as Blackpool qualified for the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy with a late win against Wolves' Under-21s.
Rocky Bushiri was the unlikely hero as the defender drilled a low effort into the back of the net in the third minute of stoppage time.
It means the Seasiders, who have now won two of their three group games, are assured of qualification irrespective of how Carlisle United get on against Morecambe next week.
Despite surviving two or three major scares, Pool were the dominant team for much of the game but they left it late to claim the three points against a spirited and talented Wolves side.
“We said to the players we didn’t want to be disappointed like we were in the last game against Carlisle (when Pool lost 2-1)," Grayson said.
“I didn’t want to players to play themselves out of my plans for the future and they had a real good attitude. We worked extremely hard and we had a go.
“They probably had the better start for the first 15 minutes or so but after that we dominated for large parts.
“We just didn’t quite have that final end product and that final bit of spark, a word I’ll use from the weekend, just to get that goal.
“You have to keep grinding away, keep digging away, and we got an unusual hero at the end.”
Grayson was keen for the Seasiders to progress in the competition and, as a result, used all the options available to him off the bench.
Liam Feeney, Sullay Kaikai and Armand Gnanduillet all came onto the pitch during the second half as Pool went in desperate search of that all-important late goal.
“That’s credit to them (Wolves)," Grayson said.
“They showed they’ve got some talented players but they’ve also got a good shape and are organised. That didn’t allow us to have too much space so we had to be patient to try and find different ways.
“That’s credit to them that we had to bring on Liam, Sullay and Armand to win the game.
“I said when this competition started that I want to win it, I want to get through and breed confidence by winning football matches. That’s what we’ve gone and done.”