26 December 2023

Gary Mills praises Burton players’ ‘energy and pride’ after win over Blackpool

26 December 2023

Caretaker boss Gary Mills was proud of his Burton players after they beat Blackpool 1-0 to register a first win in nine League One matches.

Bobby Kamwa netted the game’s only goal after 10 minutes, with play-off hopefuls Blackpool unable to respond.

“It was a really good performance and really proud of the group,” Mills said.

“The energy and pride they showed in their performance was excellent and that is credit to everyone at the football club. They deserve that.”

Albion got off to a fast start and were rewarded when Kamwa’s teasing cross beat everybody and nestled in the far corner.

“It was a message (getting at Blackpool early) that we hammered home before the game,” Mills said. “We wanted to start fast and right, full of energy and we wanted to engage the crowd, who I thought were fantastic today for us.”

Former Leeds youngster Kamwa has not featured much for Albion this season but earned praise from his boss after scoring his first goal since the final game of 2022.

“We spoke at length about getting more crosses into the box,” Mills said. “The type of delivery was always asking questions.

“I thought Bobby was fantastic. He has come into the side today having been out for a little while, but he showed real energy and was a threat all game. I thought we looked a decent side on the counter-attack today.”

A rare clean sheet was down to superb defending, led by skipper John Brayford, and Mills knew that his side had put bodies on the line to secure victory.

“Defensively we were outstanding,” he said. “They gave us a real platform to play off and defended for their lives and they really stuck together.”

Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley was left bemoaning another poor away day as his team lost for the second time in a row on the road, having gone down 2-1 at Cambridge on December 16, denting their play-off aspirations.

“I am sick of having this feeling away from home, to be honest,” he said. “We give a team a goal head start, which means you are chasing the game.

“We played some good football in the first half with one or two decent opportunities.

“Second half, obviously, they are holding onto their lead and we have pushed them right back and it is not easy then to break down 11 men behind the ball, but when we got into good situations or promising areas of the pitch, we failed. Again. It is deja vu from Cambridge.”

Critchley was also critical of the defending for Burton’s goal.

“It’s a diagonal down the pitch and we are nowhere near aggressive enough on the touchline,” he said. “We don’t stop the ball coming in the box and it finds its way into the bottom corner.”

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