Blackpool boss Neil Critchley explains why 'certain players' were given the chance to redeem themselves against Millwall

Neil Critchley has explained why he wanted to give certain players the chance to redeem themselves during Blackpool’s win against Millwall.

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Pool’s head coach largely named an unchanged side from Blackpool’s last outing, which was the dreadful 2-1 defeat to League Two side Hartlepool United in the FA Cup.

The only two players to drop out were James Husband and Keshi Anderson, who suffered hamstring injuries during that encounter.

It meant Critchley kept faith with the likes of Dujon Sterling, CJ Hamilton and Shayne Lavery, who were particularly poor in Blackpool’s third round tie.

But the trio repaid Critchley’s faith, all producing superb displays during Saturday’s 1-0 victory against Millwall.

Sterling was the standout performer on the day, while Hamilton was heavily involved in the winning goal which was put away by Lavery.

When asked if it was a conscious decision to keep faith with the players that struggled against Hartlepool, Critchley told The Gazette: “I felt some players at this moment in time need to feel my support and need to feel the trust of the coach.

Dujon Sterling repaid Neil Critchley's faith with an outstanding display on Saturday

“After a defeat like that in the FA Cup, the easy thing to do would be to make wholesale changes. But I have to look at the game and the bigger picture.

“There wasn’t a lot wrong for the majority of the Hartlepool game and if you play that game another 10 times, I think we’d win quite a few of them.

“But we didn’t win the game and we didn’t deserve to win the game because of the 15 to 20 minutes where we didn’t compete.

“Some of the players got another opportunity against Millwall to put that right and they’ve gone and done that.”

While the defeat in the FA Cup will have come as a major disappointment, the Seasiders have started 2022 well with back-to-back league wins.

But Critchley, whose side head to league leaders Fulham on Saturday, knew how imperative it was to issue a response to the Hartlepool setback.

“It was vital and it was something we stressed to the players in the build-up to the game,” he added.

“We wanted to redeem ourselves (against Barnsley) last week but that was taken out of our hands. We got the chance to do it in front of our own supporters instead.

“This is a big victory for us. Any win in this division is so hard fought, it’s so tough to win games. You have to work extremely hard for anything you get and we had to do that against an established Championship team in Millwall.

“The support was fantastic and they were right behind us. It’s always a great feeling when you send our fans home happy.”

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