Blackpool manager Ian Holloway admitted he had an embarrassment of attacking options at his disposal after watching a resurgent Matt Phillips lead a 3-0 demolition job of Middlesbrough.
Phillips, who went out on loan in October, bagged a hat-trick on Boxing Day and notched the opener in this npower Championship encounter at Bloomfield Road in the 50th minute. Lomana LuaLua doubled the lead after poking in the rebound from Alex Baptiste's shot before the scoring was completed when Seb Hines put through his own net.
"I thought the front three were superb and Angel (Martinez) in midfield came in like he'd been playing all season and I felt we had great balance in midfield with Chris Basham and Ludovic Sylvestre as well," he said.
"Tom Ince and LuaLua were a box of tricks every time they had (the ball) and Matty Phillips is playing out of his skin at the moment - he's added end product and goals to his game so well done to him.
"I can't remember too many more exciting afternoons than that. Middlesbrough threw a bit of a spanner in the works because they haven't played that formation for a few weeks. We didn't expect that and it caught us really, they cut it out too many times in the first half and we had to change what our wide men were doing in the second half."
After keeping Blackpool goalless until half-time and then hitting the post through Barry Robson, Boro had no answer to the Seasiders' firepower in the second half and slipped to fourth in the Championship table with manager Tony Mowbray admitting the better side won.
"I don't have any complaints to be honest. Their front three gave them some individuality and when we conceded just after hitting the post it made things very difficult for us," he said.
"Their front three gave us problems with their pace and movement and it was difficult to counteract that after the first goal.
"I don't think the result was flattering towards them at all. Three days ago they were sitting on the back of a 3-0 defeat and that would have hurt them an awful lot.
"I think they have reacted very well but I think we still managed to create chances. They of course did as well and ultimately goals change games. You go a goal down and become expansive because you're trying to get a goal and get back in the game and it became very dangerous for us with their talented forward line."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer