Neil Critchley expects more from players as Blackpool earn FA Cup win at Bromley

By Sports Desk November 04, 2023

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley warned his players they need to perform much better in the second half after securing a 2-0 FA Cup first round victory at Bromley.

The League One promotion-chasers saw off the National League high fliers thanks to clinical first-half strikes from Shane Lavery and Karamoko Dembele.

However, Critchley was not quite as impressed with his team’s display after the interval.

He said: “I have to say Bromley were excellent in the second half. We scored early and then again before half-time, but it looked like we had some tired bodies and tired minds in that second half.

“If Bromley had scored, things might have been different. We just weren’t ourselves in that second half.

“We have had a busy schedule. We kept a clean sheet but that was mainly down to a bit of luck and some poor finishing.

“We just seemed to stop playing in the second half. I’m not sure whether that’s a mentality thing, but it’s certainly something we need to improve on.”

Blackpool controlled the first period, with Lavery and loan man Dembele handing them a two-goal lead at the hosts’ tiny Hayes Lane stadium.

That was all the Seasiders needed as Bromley’s search for a first-ever victory against a Football League team goes on.

Bromley boss Andy Woodman was disappointed with the result, but keen to take the positives overall.

“We had a good go but we just couldn’t find that finish you need against opposition like this,” said Woodman.

“If we could have got one goal, and got this place rocking, then who knows?

“We huffed and puffed overall, but Blackpool showed much more quality when they needed it.

“We’ve just got to dust ourselves down now and get this good league form going again. We’re creating something exciting here and we’re in a great position in the league table.”

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    Here the PA news agency looks at the situation more closely.

    What has happened?

    The EFL released an explosive statement on Friday afternoon saying the agreement announced between the FA and the Premier League on the new format and funding for the FA Cup was “a further example of how the EFL and its clubs are being marginalised in favour of others further up the pyramid” which “only serves to threaten the future of the English game”.

    A number of EFL clubs and some from lower down the pyramid have also criticised the lack of consultation on the issue. One of them, League Two side Bradford, said that although retrospective consultation was still necessary, it would be “nothing more than an insult”.

    What has the FA said?

    Football’s national governing body said it “understands the concerns” expressed in the last 24 hours and said it would be “sharing more details with clubs very shortly to explain the additional revenue opportunities in the early rounds”.

    It added that the EFL had been involved in discussions about replays for over a year and that “all parties accepted they could not continue”. The FA also pointed out that the calendar changes were approved by its Professional Game Board (PGB) which includes four EFL representatives.

    So the EFL backed the changes?

    The EFL insists the abolition of replays from the FA Cup was “agreed solely between the FA and the Premier League”. It said its PGB representatives did challenge the position on replays and were told that clubs would be “comfortable” without them. The EFL added: “Any decisions taken on the calendar involving EFL representatives are in no way an endorsement of the joint deal agreed between the FA and Premier League that imposes changes to the FA Cup competition format in isolation.”

    The FA, EFL and Premier League were in discussions over the so-called “New Deal For Football” to agree new financial settlements and changes to the domestic calendar in response to fixture pressures caused by UEFA expanding its club competitions from 2024-25. However, the EFL statement says the discussions over the FA Cup were “bilateral” between the FA and the Premier League.

    The EFL insists it must be involved in all discussions on changes to the calendar affecting its clubs and crucially, how any such changes are compensated for. But sources close to the EFL feel that now Premier League clubs have opted to halt talks on a new settlement with the 72 clubs, the EFL is being sidelined.

    What happens now?

    The FA says it will try to convince lower-league clubs they will not “lose out” as a result of the changes. The EFL says the FA and the Premier League must “re-evaluate their approach” to dealing with it and its 72 clubs.

    York owner Matt Uggla has said he will contact all those clubs who have spoken out in opposition to the changes to “discuss our options” regarding the FA Cup.

    “We might be called small clubs but together we are giants,” he wrote on X.

    He described boycotting the FA Cup as “the nuclear option”.

  • Philippe Clement urges Rangers to embrace intense environment of run-in Philippe Clement urges Rangers to embrace intense environment of run-in

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    However, they go into this Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against on-song Hearts having been ferociously criticised after slip-ups away to Ross County and Dundee over the past week left them with just two wins from their last eight games in all competitions and their title hopes hanging by a thread.

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    “In other teams, where it’s not so important to win points or when it’s not something dramatic when you lose points, you cannot go to heaven also because those are not the clubs that win trophies. This is something you need to embrace.”

    Clement insists he is comfortable with the intense scrutiny and criticism he has faced amid Rangers’ recent “bumps in the road”.

    “I know it’s part of the job,” he said. “I’ve been now more than 30 years in this world and I’ve been buried a lot of times as a player and as a manager, so I know what I’m doing in a club. I know what I’m doing in this club. I know we are on the right road together.”

    Clement described the demands of being in charge of Rangers as similar to managing former club Brugge in his homeland.

    “Winning, becoming champion, is the only thing that counts,” he said. “But I’ve been like that all my life. There is nobody who can be more critical than me because I want to win everything.

    “Everybody who knows me from when I was a child, whether it was basketball, tennis or table tennis or whatever sport, I want to win. I made a lot of fights with my wife about that, that I wanted that mentality with my children because I did it with them also.

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    “It’s also because of that that you can be successful and you can win trophies and have these exciting moments that will stay with you for the rest of your life. That is what Rangers is about and that’s why I love to be here.”

    Clement galvanised Rangers earlier in the season after replacing Michael Beale in October.

    Asked what he would say to supporters who fear the resurgence is fizzling out, the Belgian said: “The same thing I said in October. I think this team since October did improve in results, in attitude and resilience, and in six months they proved it several times.

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    In a more positive update, Guardiola confirmed playmaker Kevin De Bruyne “feels well” having been taken off during extra time against Real for nothing more serious than exhaustion.

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    He said: “It’s normal with the amount of games we are playing this season and the previous seasons and not much recovery, and extra time and high intensity.

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    The agonising penalty shoot-out defeat by Real ended City’s hopes of winning the treble for a second season in succession.

    Yet they remain on course to repeat the domestic double and Guardiola is determined to bounce back from the midweek heartache.

    He said: “We don’t have another option. I don’t want us to feel sorry for ourselves.

    “In football, you lose games. We performed at our best and we were not able to win. You have to accept it.

    “We did everything. We know it, they know it, all the world know it, but it was not enough. When it’s not enough, it’s bad night.

    “So congratulations (to Real) and, tomorrow, FA Cup.”

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