'We were second best all over the pitch': Simon Grayson hits out at players after Blackpool crash out of EFL Trophy at the hands of Scunthorpe
Simon Grayson questioned the attitude and application of his players after Blackpool crashed out of the EFL Trophy with a 3-1 defeat to Scunthorpe United.
The Seasiders' seven-game unbeaten run was halted by League Two Scunthorpe, but Grayson could have no complaints about the scoreline at the full-time whistle.
The damage was done for Pool in a woeful first-half display which led to the Iron holding a 2-0 lead at the break courtesy of goals from Kevin Van Veen and Abo Eisa.
Pool briefly threatened a comeback when Joe Nuttall pulled a goal back with his second as many games.
But those hopes were banished when Callum Guy was sent off with 15 minutes remaining, Scunthorpe going on to seal the win at the death with Eisa's second of the match.
“It wasn’t the result and it wasn’t the performance we were looking for," an angry Grayson said.
“We spoke before the game about how we needed to be professional, how we had to have a good attitude because they’ve got some good, experienced players that know what the game is all about.
“That was their strongest team they had out but we didn’t have the right attitude or the right application in the first half.
“We were second best all over the pitch and didn’t win any of our battles, didn’t pass the ball properly, took too easy options sometimes.
“Over the last few weeks we’ve passed the ball with a purpose with shorter, incisive play, but it was more the attitude and the application that was hugely disappointing from my perspective.
“I could have taken any of the players off at half time because none of them did themselves justice whatsoever.
“We got a bit of a reaction second half but Callum Guy’s sending off came just as we were getting back into the game.
“But, look, there weren’t enough players out there who had a desire and spirit to go and win the game.”
Guy's dismissal, which came just four minutes after Pool had brought it back to 2-1, looked to be a harsh one on the face of it.
The midfielder was adjudged to have intentionally handled the ball to stop a Scunthorpe break, which resulted in referee Ben Toner flashing a second yellow card.
“I think there were a lot of decisions that made for a stop-start game but I’m not going to use that as an excuse," Grayson said.
“Callum sort of handballed it when he maybe could have let it go, or something like that.
“But, as I say, I’m not going to use it as an excuse because we just didn’t have the right application.
“They were first to every second ball, they ran quicker than us, they ran better, they were a constant threat, they passed it with a purpose and they looked like they were enjoying what they were doing.
“Whereas our lads at times looked like it was a chore.”