Paul Warne wants Derby to relish the pressure ahead of huge Portsmouth clash

By Sports Desk March 29, 2024

Derby head coach Paul Warne has urged his players to enjoy the pressure after they strengthened their automatic promotion chances with a 1-0 win over Blackpool.

The Rams came out on top in a tense, close-fought game that was settled by Ebou Adams’ superb first-half strike.

Clear chances were few and far between until the ball fell to Adams on the edge of the box in the 40th minute and the midfielder smashed home an unstoppable shot to celebrate his first Derby goal.

Derby should have added a second in the 55th minute when Nathaniel Mendez-Laing put Conor Washington through but Blackpool goalkeeper Daniel Grimshaw made an excellent save.

It resulted in a nervy finish for Derby, who needed keeper Joe Wildsmith to beat out a Sonny Carey free-kick in the 71st minute.

Blackpool continued to find openings and Kyle Joseph had two goalbound shots blocked by Curtis Nelson and Eiran Cashin in the closing minutes.

The win sets Derby up for Tuesday night’s visit to leaders Portsmouth and Warne said: “I told the lads before the game that pressure is a privilege.

“To play in these games and to have something to go for is amazing because you can have loads of seasons where it just fizzles out.

“I don’t think there’s any easy opposition in this league, it is tough and what I did like today was our game management.

“I joked with the lads after that what we normally do with five minutes left is just give the ball away all the time so I really liked our game management at the end.

“I was impressed with our discipline out of possession. Footballers always want the ball all the time so I think the fact the lads took all the information on from the coaches this week, the out of possession stuff impressed me the most.”

For Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley, it was a familiar story.

He said: “I thought we played with bravery, passed the ball well, caused them problems, got into the final third often, got into good situations and failed.

“It’s been the story of our season in certain games away from home. They produced a moment of quality, we don’t, they defend the goal better than us and that’s why they win 1-0 and that’s why they are where they are and why we are where we are.

“We’ve got six games to go and there will be plenty of twists and turns but I’m sick of saying the same things. We’ve created more than enough good moments and didn’t do enough in front of the goal and that’s all too common for us this season.”

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