Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final: Manager reaction
The victory sealed the Tangerines’ promotion back to Sky Bet League One after successive relegations, and it came in Gary Bowyer’s first season in charge.
The boss held the Play-Off Final silverware aloft 37 years to the day that his father, Ian Bowyer, lifted the European Cup as a Nottingham Forest player.
“This is an amazing feeling,” Bowyer junior beamed in the post-final press conference. “It was a massive team effort that will stay with the players and staff for a very long time.
“For us to achieve what we’ve done in under a year is fantastic. My main aim was to bring stability to the club. So what we’ve done is more than what I expected.
“We’ve laid the foundations now so we have to build on them. The immediate objective is to enjoy this moment and enjoy tonight.
“We’ll set about the business of competing in League One after.”
Bowyer’s side were hampered with injury throughout their Play-Off campaign, and it didn’t stop at Wembley.
After losing skipper Andy Taylor in the second leg of the semi-final against Luton, the Seasiders saw fellow defender Tom Aldred forced off in the first half at Wembley.
“The flexibility the players have shown is amazing,” Bowyer explained. “We had to reorganise at half-time and they carried it out to a tee. My players were immense.
“Mark Cullen made a big sacrifice for the team after we scored. We had to change our shape after we lost Tommy Aldred. He had to play in midfield so I’m delighted for Mark to get his goal, he’s found form at the right time for us.
“Credit must go to the players. People have had cheap shots at us, even when there has been positives, they’ve made it a negative. These players have just concentrated on the game and they’ve done the same again today.”
On the losing side was Paul Tisdale – the longest-serving manager in the EFL.
Despite suffering defeat, the Grecians’ gaffer couldn’t hide his delight in his team’s achievements this term having been bottom of the table in November.
“I’m proud of the players for the season we’ve had,” he admitted. “We will regret today’s result but we should be very pleased with what we’ve done this year.
“We gave ourselves the opportunity to be here today, unfortunately we didn’t take it, but now we have to look ahead to next year.
“It hurts, but I think we’ll have a couple of weeks to let it settle and then we’ll look to next year. This squad won’t change much in terms of personnel. They’re a good group and there’s lots of options in there and lots of young, developing players.”
On the performance, Tisdale was disappointed with his side’s incapability to break Blackpool down in the second period after David Wheeler had levelled just before the break.
“We were brilliant in the first half,” the manager added. “They took a hold of the game in the first 10 minutes of the second period and that changed the course of the game.
“We didn’t do our best in the last half hour, but its a tough environment to play in. The performance doesn’t always get the result. I’ve got no issues with how we played in the first half.
“We could have played better to get back into the game, but the boys tried particularly hard. We just didn’t quite know what to do.”