Holloway on ‘very poor’ Pool

Kevin Phillips celebrates his equalising goal with the fans

Kevin Phillips celebrates his equalising goal with the fans

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IAN Holloway watched his side become the first club to prevent Brighton winning this season – then labelled it a “very poor” performance.

The Seasiders boss was relieved and pleased that Kevin Phillips’ double-strike earned a point.

But his overwhelming emotion was disappointment at what he considered an under-par display.

The manager said: “I don’t know what our fans made of it because it didn’t look like my team. We looked hesitant and indecisive.

“I am not happy with it. I thought we were very, very poor and I have to look at that and see why. It was a hell of a fightback from us but it needed to be. I would probably have accepted a 2-2 before the game but I would have liked it in a better manner. But I will stay calm, stay encouraging and I will keep working.

“We will get back on the grass in Blackpool this week and see what we can do.”

Holloway himself helped turn the contest on its head by making an inspired triple substitution just before the hour mark.

With Pool trailing 2-0 and looking as if they hadn’t a chance of getting back in it, the boss replaced Chris Basham, Matt Phillips and Billy Clarke with Neal Eardley, Brett Ormerod and Craig Sutherland.

That seemed to lift spirits and a double from Phillips – his second goal arriving in the final minute – secured a point. “I made the substitutions because I was totally fed up with what I was seeing,” added Holloway.

“First half we looked dithery, not confident.

“I wanted Matty Phillips to get invovled and run at people. It looks like the time he has had with England hasn’t gone well for him. I wanted Billy Clarke to be as bright and bubbly as he has been.

“But experienced players are worth their weight in gold and Kevin Phillips proved that on the day, as did Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Brett Ormerod when he came on. Maybe we will need one or two more of them.”

Despite his unhappiness with his own team’s performance, the manager did accept that Brighton isn’t an easy place to go.

Still on a high after winning the League One title last year and playing at a new 22,500-seater stadium, Gus Poyet’s side are likely to be a force to be reckoned with.

Holloway added: “Brighton have a good group. They have bought one of the best players in the Championship in Craig Mackail-Smith, so everything is on the up for them.

“I was never settled throughout the game because Mackail-Smith was a threat over the top.

“Well done to Brighton. It was pretty intimidating because the crowd made a big noise. Someone cheated them a few years ago and stole their ground and they’ve done well to get here. Good luck to them.

“They clearly have a great head of steam going. They have fantastic energy because of where their club has come from.

“We are almost the opposite because we’ve come down from the Premier League. But it is still early days and that was a good fightback.”

Elliot Grandin missed the match because of a foot problem.

He and Craig Cathcart, who has been suffering from a virus, are expected to be fit for Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.