Blackpool boss Neil Critchley praises Sonny Carey after vital win over Cambridge

By Sports Desk April 06, 2024

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley hailed match-winner Sonny Carey as his side kept their outside hopes of a play-off finish alive with a 1-0 win over Cambridge.

Carey scored the game’s only goal with a superb curled finish after half an hour to leave the Seasiders six points off sixth-placed Oxford with four games remaining.

The home side passed up a number of other chances to make it more comfortable but Critchley was pleased with the way his side broke down a resolute Cambridge defence, with United scrapping for survival in League One.

“I thought we were good in the first half against a team who are defensive,” he said. “That’s how they’ve got their results lately, by defending deep.

“You have to be patient, work your openings, work the play and we did that. We produced quality that we haven’t produced in games recently.

“It was nice to see Sonny pass it into the bottom corner. That’s the quality he’s got.

“In the second half, we deteriorated, got a bit edgy and we needed the second goal to calm us down. We didn’t get it.

“They had a moment where they hit the post on the break, but we got over the line so I’ll take that.

“In the second half, we had loads of situations where we win the ball back and we failed in that final pass. Maybe we were lacking a bit of confidence or there was a bit of anxiety.”

Blackpool welcome neighbours Fleetwood to Bloomfield Road on Tuesday before travelling to already-relegated Carlisle, results which could have big implications for Garry Monk’s Cambridge.

The U’s sit five points above the drop zone with five games left to play but Monk was encouraged by his side’s second-half performance, which saw Gassan Ahadme and Elias Kachunga both go close to rescuing a precious point on the road.

He said: “In the first half they made it difficult for us. We weren’t quite dealing with wide areas where they were moving their central players out wide. They overloaded us there and it pinned us back a little bit, but we still defended well.

“At half-time, we spoke about that and needing to show a bit more composure on the ball. There were moments where we could have shown more composure, but in the second half we did just that.

“The second-half performance I was really proud of, we were so close to getting our just rewards. I was really pleased with the second half, I thought it was a good response to going a goal behind and we were unlucky not to come away with a point.

“In the second half, I thought we were the better team. We built attacks better, and nearly came away with a point.”

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