Holloway refuses to make excuses

Alex Baptiste gets in a header
Alex Baptiste gets in a header
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IAN Holloway has made it clear he won’t be using Pool’s pitch as an excuse for poor performances.

The playing surface has become increasingly cut-up in recent weeks, making it difficult to play good football.

But anyone in Holloway’s squad who dares blame the pitch for Tuesday’s 4-1 thumping by West Ham or for any other bad results is a brave man.

Holloway won’t allow any such talk. He said: “Of course I would like to transfer Wembley’s pitch to our place but it is what it is. It’s no-one’s fault and it is the same for both teams.

“Let’s not make a big issue of our pitch. It is all about what you’ve got and where you started – and our place has changed quite dramatically since I came here less than three years ago.

“I’m delighted with the progress we’ve made and what we are becoming.

“Pretty soon we’ll have a lovely hotel at the back of the south stand that people can sleep in and look at the blooming pitch, and I think that is fantastic.

“We have to put things in perspective, and this club is a lot bigger and better than when Sam Allardyce was here before, and I am proud to be a very small part of that.”

West Ham boss Allardyce mentioned Blackpool’s surface prior to Tuesday’s game, though Holloway believes his opposite number was playing psychological games.

The Pool boss added: “I think Sam goaded my lot into trying to outplay his team with his comments about the pitch not being good enough for two footballing teams.

“You have to play in the right areas and we went to feet constantly. We didn’t talk about that beforehand.

“I wanted Matty Phillips to run into grass and for us to hit our long diagonals behind them. Instead we kept getting it in to Lua-Lua’s feet and he kept losing it.

“It was really unlike us but we kept doing it. It was going in to Ludo Sylvestre and Barry Ferguson, and they were giving it away.

“I’m sure Sam is laughing. On a bobbly old night you have to put them under pressure and turn their back four around.

“They were much better than us in every aspect of the game.

“I was watching my lot get all emotional and kick it out of the ground in frustration. Dearie me, it was just one of those nights.

“But are we being realistic saying we should beat West Ham? Look at the money they have to spend.

“Yet the truth is that we actually aren’t that far off them in the league.

“Unfortunately, we all had to eat a massive slice of humble pie the other night.”