Neil Critchley likes the look of Coventry

Coventry City v Blackpool – Sky Bet Championship – Coventry Building Society Arena
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley hailed Coventry the best team his side have played this season after holding the Sky Blues to a 1-1 draw at The Coventry Building Society Arena.

Former Coventry striker Gary Madine opened the scoring for the Tangerines before top goalscorer Viktor Gyokeres levelled things before half-time in the Sky Bet Championship clash.

“I thought Coventry were excellent, especially in the first half,” claimed Critchley. “They’re the best team we’ve played this season.

“I thought it was a really good, entertaining game, their system gives you a problem, the way they play within that system and the players they’ve got give you a real problem and they gave us a real problem in the first half.”

Coventry came out of the blocks fast with Gyokeres diverting Callum O’Hare’s shot narrowly wide inside the opening 70 seconds, whilst Gustavo Hamer and Ian Maatsen also had efforts on goal.

But Madine capitalised on a Blackpool breakaway and tapped in Owen Dale’s cross at the far post to net his second in as many games.

Critchley added: “I thought we carried a threat, we scored our first goal and I thought for the next 10 minutes we settled down, even though they had more of the ball we were looking quite comfortable.

“We managed to get some information onto the pitch that helped us a little bit in terms of our defensive set-up.

“In the second half I thought we played very well, played some really good football, it was an even game and we probably looked the most likely to score but you always know with the quality they’ve got, and they score a lot of goals late, they’re likely to score a chance and win the game.”

Coventry boss Mark Robins was left rueing missed first-half chances and a defensive error that left his Coventry side frustrated despite having more than  60% possession and 20 shots on goal.

He said: “We started like a house on fire but what we’ve got to do in that spell is take the lead – but we didn’t quite have the finish.

“When they make the first foray into our penalty area it ends up in the back of our net inexplicably really, we have to do better and keep the ball out of the net when we’re not as clinical as we need to be at the other end.

“We are a really good team, they are playing out of their skins, we are so close to being a top, top team and that’s the frustration that everybody will feel.”

Robins also bemoaned the CBS Arena pitch which they share with rugby union side  Wasps after moving back to the city following a two-year hiatus sharing  Birmingham’s ground.

Robins added: “The pitch slows things down when it’s bobbly, it needs to be flatter because you see what we can produce on the pitch that we played on Saturday.

“I’m nit-picking a bit but it’s not the most to ask for, for a good surface to be able to play football that the supporters are really behind.

“It’s difficult, it really is difficult but ultimately we’re looking for a little better and surely we work together to make that right.

“It’s early days, it’s the first year we’ve been back and there wasn’t a great amount of time from when we came back to work on it, but they’ve worked on it as hard as they can, we just want it to be a bit flatter, a bit slicker so we can move the ball a bit quicker.”

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