Richie Wellens praises Leyton Orient’s change of style in win against Blackpool

By Sports Desk February 27, 2024

Richie Wellens heaped praise on his Leyton Orient squad after a 1-0 home win against Blackpool.

The victory allowed Orient to leapfrog their opponents and move into eighth position in Sky Bet League One, although they remain five points adrift of a play-off place.

Ollie O’Neill, who scored in the win at Oxford on Saturday, was again on target when he struck in the second half to record his third goal for the club since signing from Fulham in January.

The goal was sufficient to earn the London outfit their seventh win in their last 10 matches.

“We had a brilliant win in terms of we beat Oxford on Saturday by playing really good football and moving the ball smoothly and rotation,” said Wellens.

“Tonight wasn’t about that, credit to Blackpool because they stopped us playing as they were well set-up defensively.

“So we then decided to miss midfield and pick up second balls. We knew that was the way to try and win the game.

“I thought the best player on the pitch was Ruel Sotiriou, although there were a lot of good performances from elsewhere. Ruel set the tempo for everything we did.”

Recent signing O’Neill also attracted individual praise from his manager.

“Sometimes recruitment is really hard and a player can look brilliant with attributes, but (with) Ollie we had a real look and straight away we knew he was strong.

“He doesn’t look like he’s running quick, but then you look at defenders chasing him and they’re not catching him.

“He has two good feet, he scored with his right foot (on) Saturday and he scored with his left today so I’m delighted.”

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley admitted his side cannot afford to slip up in their bid to reach the play-offs after slipping down to ninth after the defeat.

“I thought it was a tight game with very little between both teams,” Critchley said.

“It was always likely to be settled decided by a moment of quality or a mistake and unfortunately it was ourselves who made that mistake and they capitalised, and that was the difference.

“Neither goalkeeper has really had anything to do and even through Orient had territory, they didn’t really cause us many problems.

“They are a really hard team to play against here. They don’t concede many goals and we huffed and puffed when we went 1-0 down, but missing Jordan Rhodes and Shane Lavery was obviously difficult and overall we didn’t do enough.

“I said to the players can we try and scrap and get a 1-0 win in these type of games or worst case dig it out and get a 0-0 to earn a point.

“Nothing is decided yet. We’re still in there, but we can’t have too many nights like this and afford to have games where we don’t pick up points.”

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