04 March 2023

Mick McCarthy hopes draw with Burnley can spark Blackpool’s survival bid

04 March 2023

Mick McCarthy believes Blackpool’s hard-earned point against Burnley can function as a catalyst for their Championship survival pursuit.

The Tangerines held the runaway league leaders to a 0-0 stalemate at Bloomfield Road as goalkeeper Chris Maxwell made a string of fine saves.

Blackpool sit 22nd and six points adrift of safety but boss McCarthy hopes their defiant Lancashire derby display can lay the foundations for a great escape.

The veteran boss, 64, said: “I’m very satisfied with our afternoon’s work actually – and how the players committed to that.

“With the shape of the team, they all had to work very, very hard. They had to because we were playing against the best team in the league.

“I spoke in our pre-match press conference about having a performance, despite whatever happens against the best team in the league who are miles in front.

“But win, lose or draw you want a performance so the fans could get behind us and enjoy. We’ve certainly done that and we’ve got a point out of it.

“And if you’re thinking what games are going to define the season and where we end up, as good a point as it is, it is not against Burnley. We’ve got other games we need to win.

“What’s nice is when substitutes come on and contribute and not sit on their backsides and are unhappy about not being in the [starting] team.

“Well, we’ve had none of that, not since I’ve been here anyway. They’ve all come on and contributed. I thought the subs who came on today were great.”

Man-of-the-match Maxwell thwarted Burnley stars Johann Gudmundsson, Nathan Tella and substitute Scott Twine as the Clarets were left frustrated by the seaside.

And McCarthy added: “Maxxy’s [Chris Maxwell] made a couple of good saves and maybe, if we could have been a bit calmer in certain situations, then towards the end maybe we could have won it.

“You know, we’re pushing to try and win it, so I’m very pleased with the afternoon’s work.”

Josh Brownhill went close to firing the visitors ahead while at the other end, Jerry Yates proved a constant nuisance for Blackpool.

Ashley Barnes headed over from a contentious free-kick for the visitors, before Brownhill was forced off after a heavy challenge in the 26th minute.

Gudmundsson, Tella and Twine – who replaced Brownhill in the first half – were all denied by Maxwell while flying winger Anass Zaroury rifled wide.

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany, whose side did extend their unbeaten league run to 14 games with the result, said: “I think you always want to set the standard as high as you can, but it just felt like one of those games.

“We didn’t concede loads of chances, although I felt we approached the final third enough times to get the goals.

“But you play against a team that’s got something to fight for, so you’ve got to expect it to be difficult and, in the end, it might just be a point gained given the context.

“If you look at the numbers I think we’ve had 80 per cent of the ball, we had five shots on target and 13 in total.

“We conceded zero shots on target, so in the end we did what we needed to do.

“But you’re always so demanding so long as that ball does not go in. We were a bit unlucky on that.

“However, having been in the game long enough, I can take a point like this and we move on.

“We’re at Turf Moor next week, it’s number nine in 27 days, so massive credit to the team.

“If you’re completely starved of chances then maybe it’s acceptable you don’t score but, on a day like today, they don’t always land on the right side of the line.

“I can’t criticise the team, especially the attackers this season. But, look, at our best I think we can be more lively in the box.

“You’d want to see us get a toe on the ball or dive on it but, in general, every player in the team was fighting for something.

“We shouldn’t be surprised with those games, they’re always going to be difficult.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox