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Is Critchley’s Time At Blackpool Coming To An End?




Blackpool’s recent 0-0 draw against Wycombe Wanderers has diminished their fans’ hopes of finishing in the playoffs even further.


There were some rather unsavoury scenes at full time, as when Critchley came over to applaud the North Stand, he was met with a chorus of boos.


This is the first time this season that the Blackpool fans have voiced their lack of trust in their manager in this way, and it may have sent a clear message to Blackpool’s board, that they are not happy with what they are seeing on the pitch.


How has it come to this, though? From a confident opening day win against Burton Albion, to one of the strongest defences and home records in the division, where did it all go wrong?



A Reluctance To Change

Critchley earned himself the title of ‘The Tinkerman’ during his last stint at Bloomfield Road for his constant tweaking of tactics and choice of starting 11, depending on who his side were facing.


Now, despite arguably having more players at his disposal, there is a clear reluctance to change anything tactically, especially away from home, despite his current tactics not working.


Away from home, Blackpool have been nothing short of woeful. They have picked up some impressive wins against Portsmouth and Barnsley, but more often than not, they fail to impress, to the extent of not even registering a single shot on target.


Critchley has opted to stick with a system that does not work, with players that are not playing in their natural position or has opted to field players who have been less than impressive throughout the season, such as Callum Connolly or Sonny Carey.


No matter how many times Critchley has tried to drill his tactics into his side away from home, it just does not seem to be working, and the fans are fed up with seeing no changes to their style of play.


The lack of change is the most infuriating thing for Blackpool fans. They can see that the style of football on show is not working and is ineffective, yet Critchley is sending his side out week after week attempting to play the same brand of football, and the fans have finally had enough.





Blaming The Players

The fans appreciate when the manager takes the blame for a defeat or takes the blame away from the players at the very least.


But, Critchley has made a habit of blaming his players, rather than the tactics, on numerous occasions this season.


After Blackpool’s 0-0 draw at home against Wycombe, Critchley told the club media team that ‘not enough players played to the level you’d want’, before going on to say that Blackpool were ‘too tentative’.


But in the opinion of the fans, that is not through the player's lack of trying, but it is instead the tactics they have been sent out with. The slow sideways passing, and keep ball, possession style of play, is in fact hurting their chances going forward, with players like Dembele and CJ Hamilton being able to hurt defences with their pace.


After their 1-0 loss away against Derby County, Critchley stated that it was ‘an all too familiar feeling for us this season’, yet he fielded a similar starting 11, and applied similar tactics to other away games in which they have lost this season.





The lack of wanting to change tactics may have cost Blackpool dearly this season. Their away form has been woeful, but Critchley has done nothing to change that and has pinned the blame entirely on his players.


The fans have made their feelings clear, and they believe their playoff hopes are over, despite it still being mathematically possible.


There is, realistically, only one spot left in the playoffs that Blackpool could achieve, but with the form that Lincoln are in, do they even have a chance of getting close? Even if Blackpool do manage to squeeze into the top six, will they manage to beat anyone else over two legs?


Whatever happens, Blackpool fans are far from happy with Critchley, and owner Simon Sadler will have to make a very important decision come the end of the season should they miss out on the top six.




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