Neil McDonald revealed Brad Potts overcame personal tragedy to inspire Blackpool to their five-star victory against Scunthorpe.
The man-of-the-match midfielder’s two goals helped the Seasiders blow away the Iron 5-0 at Bloomfield Road and jump out of the League One relegation zone.
Manager McDonald explained after the game that Potts’ recent slump in form was due to the untimely death of a cousin.
“He’s had a difficult time,” explained the Pool boss. “No-one has really mentioned it but he lost a very close cousin over Christmas.
“He has a very close-knit family, so it was a big blow to them.
“I didn’t really want to tell people this but I hope it explains his recent performances, when he’s gone off the boil a little.
“It hit him hard and he’s not over it yet, but this performance showed his character.”
The 22-year-old moved away from his North-East home for the first time after joining Pool in the summer.
And McDonald explained how the squad have helped him through a tough time.
“We’ve supported Brad as much as we can,” he said. “It’s been very difficult for him and he’s had a couple of off-performances, which is understandable.
“We’ve all stuck by him and he’s come back really strong. On Saturday he played a pivotal part.”
Pool went goal crazy against Scunthorpe, after Tom Aldred headed the first after only two minutes.
Potts’ pair was added to by first Pool goals for David Norris and Danny Philliskirk.
It was Pool’s biggest win since hitting Ipswich for six in August 2012 and the manager hailed the display as his team’s best yet.
“It was our best performance of the season without a shadow of a doubt,” McDonald said. “Both in attacking and defensive play, I thought we were spot on.
“We started at a tempo which was too much for Scunthorpe, and when the chances came along we stuck the ball in the back of the net. A 5-0 win is as good as it gets for a manager.
“We work hard on creating chances and we were clinical.
“Even when we were clear ahead, we asked for a clean sheet and Colin Doyle pulled off a great save at the end.”
The result moves Pool up to 19th, climbing above Fleetwood, whose game at Rochdale was frozen off, and Shrewsbury.