Holloway: As good as it gets

Unsettled striker Matt Phillips proved Ian Holloway right to name him among the substitutes by coming.
Unsettled striker Matt Phillips proved Ian Holloway right to name him among the substitutes by coming.
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IAN Holloway described Blackpool’s 2-1 home win over Leeds as one of his best ever.

The Seasiders came from behind last night to go top of the Championship table as the only club to have won their first two games.

It was wantaway winger Matt Phillips who came off the bench to seal the win after Pool dominated.

And manager Holloway thinks it doesn’t get any better. He said: “It’s as good a performance as any of my teams have ever put in.

“We had to fight. We had to show character as Leeds are a good, strong team.

“Sometimes football is frustrating as we had chance after chance and didn’t take them.

“They looked hard to break down, but my goodness me it was fantastic stuff. The character we showed – it just shows you have to stick together.”

After Tom Lees headed the away side ahead in the first half, it looked like it was going to be a frustrating evening for the Seasiders.

Pool missed a host of good chances and faced a Leeds keeper in Paddy Kenny who was in fine form.

But they stuck at their task, and substitutes Nouha Dicko and Phillips were the matchwinners.

Holloway added: “I said to the lads at half-time that they would get through it.

“They were all a bit down but I told them all to realise how good they are and how well they were playing. The subs made a huge impact.

“No matter what happens, no matter what we do, we always stick together and that’s a huge compliment to this club.”

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After all the talk of Matt Phillips wanting to leave, Holloway made the big decision to name him among the substitutes.

And it was no surprise when he repaid his boss by meeting Tom Ince’s cross to seal the win.

“Matty was absolutely fantastic,” said Holloway.

“I don’t blame other people for showing interest in him, but they should firm it up before the lad knows about it.

“My chairman doesn’t want to talk to them but they can do what they like.

“Until interest turns into an opportunity, there’s nothing in it. But last night proves what a magnificent lad he is.

“I have no doubts Matty will go right to the top and hopefully he can do it with us.”

Holloway had appealed in The Gazette yesterday for supporters to back Phillips.

The Pool boss was worried fans may turn on his young striker after he revealed his wishes to join Premier League side Southampton.

Holloway added: “I’m delighted with the energy we got from the crowd.

“I was delighted that I didn’t hear anyone have a go at Matt when he was warming up.

“That’s what sets us apart, that’s what makes this club special. I think everyone appreciates the effort the lads have tried to put in.

“My team are more like Olympians than footballers.”

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