Stephen Dobbie says ‘we’re all hurting’ as Blackpool relegated from Championship
Stephen Dobbie was left heartbroken after Blackpool’s 3-2 defeat to Millwall at Bloomfield Road confirmed their relegation from the Championship.
Millwall striker Tom Bradshaw scored a fine brace, including a brilliantly worked team goal after just two minutes, either side of Jerry Yates’ penalty for the hosts.
Lewis Fiorini then went from hero to zero for Blackpool after a wonderfully taken goal from outside the box levelled the scores after 67 minutes, only for him to bring down Duncan Watmore for a Millwall penalty eight minutes later which Zian Flemming duly tucked away.
That proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the Seasiders and ended their two-year stay in the Championship in the process, something interim manager Dobbie admitted was tough to take.
He said: “Of course we’re hurting, we’re all hurting after that – it’s disappointing because we didn’t really pick it up in the second half.
“I let the lads know at half-time, they’d done OK in the first half, but I felt I needed to remind them just what was at stake.
“It was tough to lose out to a penalty so late in the game, for them to eventually win it like that was a big blow, but overall I just can’t fault any of the lads tonight.
“They were fantastic, just as they have been ever since I took over.
“They’ve been quite unbelievable for me and I’ve really enjoyed it, but I suppose it’s the learning aspect now for the club.
“It’s going to be an interesting summer, there will probably be a turnover of the squad, but that’s for later.
“We’ve still got one game to play, and we owe it to everyone to give it our everything again and we’ve got to give it our all for the fans.”
As is so often the case in sport, the agony felt by those wearing orange was mirrored by pure ecstasy from the travelling Millwall supporters, who now sense a genuine chance at the Championship play-offs.
Victory lifted them up to fifth, and if results go their way they could be guaranteed a spot in the top six before their clash with fellow play-off chasers Blackburn at The Den next Monday.
For manager Gary Rowett though, it was all about getting through the night, something he stressed was difficult against a stubborn Blackpool team.
“I thought we just about handled the game tonight,” he said.
“We knew we’d have to work hard to get a result here tonight against a tough Blackpool side.
“There’s no easy way to get over the line, though. We’ve seen huge clubs like Norwich, West Brom and Watford struggle at different stages this season, so for us to be where we are is testament to all our players.
“I’ve got a real honest bunch of lads here – they always showed a real bit of fight, and that’s what you need.
“We produced some great finishes too, some real quality and I thought we looked really composed.
“We were not necessarily in control, because Blackpool are a decent side, but we got through a bit of adversity.
“We’ll have to see what happens tomorrow now, this puts us in a good position, but we still might need a win next week to make sure of the top six.”