CARETAKER boss Steve Thompson said he’s gutted for the Seasiders players.
Pool were cruelly dumped out of the FA Cup 2-1 by Premier League side Fulham last night, despite leading three minutes into stoppage-time.
Nathan Delfouneso had fired Pool ahead on 83 minutes only for a Kieran Richardson thunderbolt to send the replay into extra-time.
And despite a host of chances for Thompson’s men, their hearts were broken when Brede Hangeland headed the winner after 116 minutes.
The stand-in Pool boss says his players gave him everything. “I’m gutted for the lads. We came so close,” Thompson said.
“I went into the dressing room afterwards and a few of their heads were down, but I told them they should have their heads held high. We went through every emotion last night again.
“The pleasing thing is that we got a great performance out of the lads. I couldn’t have asked for any more from them. Even in the last minute of extra-time, we had lads making overlaps.”
While Martin Jol’s Fulham side had more shots on goal, there’s no doubt the Seasiders created the better chances.
But after letting their Premier League visitors off the hook time and time again, they were felled by a sucker punch.
It denied them a fourth-round visit to the winners of tonight’s replay between Manchester United and West Ham.
Thompson said: “The frustrating thing is we had big chances to kill the game off. We need to find that killer instinct in front of goal.
“I took a gamble with the side last night, playing four strikers.
“I didn’t think we got enough of the ball into the box at Charlton on Saturday but last night we did. When we got into the game, I was delighted with the performance. It’s nice to go on a cup run but we have to take that performance into the league.
“We have some quality player,s and if they take that into Saturday they’ll be fine.”
League leaders Cardiff are this Saturday’s teatime visitors, and extra-time last night was probably the last thing anyone wanted.
But Thompson said he’ll have the players ready to go again, adding: “Some of the lads can’t move from the head down they are that tired. They gave me everything.”
Fulham manager Jol admitted his relief after his side snatched a place in the fourth round. “It is always a relief. I thought we did OK under the circumstances,” the Dutchman said. “Blackpool are a good team with a few talented players. We should have won at home because we had so many crosses and opportunities.
“We had to come away from home to a difficult place. The pitch was probably 10 times worse than we could have imagined but we were prepared for that.
“We still tried to play. That is the only thing we can do, but you have to score a goal and the problem comes when you don’t.
“The goal came in the 83rd minute and that was very disappointing. They couldn’t score the winner, so you knew the one who scored first would win the game and luckily it was Fulham.”