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League One

League One Play-Offs: What the managers had to say ahead of the second legs

20 May 2021

Blackpool and Lincoln City both take leads into the League One Play-Off Semi-Final second legs, as they take on Oxford United and Sunderland this weekend, looking to book their place at Wembley.

Here’s what the managers had two say ahead of the second legs… 

Neil Critchley - Blackpool 

“To keep aa clean sheet and score three goals in the first leg, we’ve got to be extremely happy with that. We’re playing with real confidence, I thought Ellis Simms was a real handful and his contribution was fantastic, but as a team we all performed really well.

“Rest and recovery will be hugely important heading into Friday night, but I can’t wait for it. I can’t wait to get out in front of the fans, I know the Tangerine Army will be making lots of noise and I know the players can’t wait either. They’ll be right behind us in full voice and hopefully we can give them something to cheer about at the end of the night.”

Karl Robinson - Oxford United 

“We apologise to the fans and will have to do it without them on Friday night now. We apologise fir not giving them that moment or a goal to celebrate with us, but it’s only half-time in the tie. 

“We will be up for Friday night. I’ve seen teams overcome the odds and situations like this with half a game to go with my own eyes. Not once, many times. I’ve seen it happen and I’ve seen what belief, team spirit and a little bit of luck can do. I can’t make the luck part of it append but we will have the other two things and if you give us a chance, that’s all we need.”

Blackpool graphic.png

Lee Johnson - Sunderland AFC 

“I don’t think we quite deserved to lose the first leg 2-0, their goalkeeper made a couple of really good saves but we just didn’t get that break that we needed in front of goal. But it’s certainly not over, it’s only half-time. We know we’ve got goals in us and we’ve got to be more vigilant at the back in the second leg. If we do that I truly believe that we can turn this result around. 

“There is no more room for error in our decision making now and we’ve go to make sure we score two goals in 90 minutes to find a way back into this tie. 

“With 10,000 fans inside the stadium, I believe they’ll give us an extra edge. Our fans will rightfully be disappointed by the result earlier this week, but we haven’t given up on this and I promise that we’ll come back on Saturday and give it absolutely everything. 

Michael Appleton - Lincoln City  

“The fans really helped the boys in the first leg. Sunderland had a good spell where they showed who they are and what they’re about, but I thought we dealt with what they threw at us really well. Joe Bursik made a couple of vital saves and you need that in these big games. The prize is huge in these games and if you’re going to get through, you need your key players to make big calls and big decisions and I thought he performed really well in the week. 

“The attitude in the first leg was to try and win the game and the attitude on Saturday will also be to try and win that game. Ultimately, we have a lead but it’s only half-time. We’ve got the best away record in the league, so we’ve got nothing to fear and I think the players will thrive off the fact that there’ll be 10,000 people inside the Stadium of Light. 

“We know we’re going up against a very good side butt ultimately. If we can put a performance in that’s maybe 10% better than what we showed in the first leg, we should give ourselves a great chance of reaching the Final.”

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You can follow further build-up, as well as updates on the second legs, via @SkyBetLeagueOne on Twitter. 


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