Ollie trusts his old guard

Blackpool's Neil Eardley takes on Fabricio Coloccini
Blackpool's Neil Eardley takes on Fabricio Coloccini
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IAN Holloway has told fans to blame the strength of the Premier League and not his players for the club’s recent struggle to get results.

The Seasiders have found wins hard to come by since the turn of the year and face a scrap for their survival in the final four games.

Blackburn’s defeat by Manchester City last night was a boost but Pool would slip back into the bottom three if Wolves avoid defeat at Stoke tonight.

But Holloway was delighted by the much-improved display in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle and hit back at those who have been critical at the team’s form in 2011.

The manager said: “Some of the performances we’ve put in this season – particularly in October and November when we lost only one in six and won three – are pinch-yourself stuff.

“But that will never always be the case at this level. Yet when the bubble did burst, all of a sudden everyone is looking to blame someone.

“It is like, ‘Who can we blame?’ Well, blame the level.

“This Premier League level is notorious for doing this to teams and we are trying our best to compete, even though we are light years behind everyone else in terms of what we’ve got and where we’ve come from.

“We had to grab people in the summer and in January, and we are trying to fit them all in in a short space of time because we are playing catch up.

“So don’t look to blame people and certainly don’t blame my players.

“If you want to blame someone, blame me, but plenty of other teams have had bad runs and are in trouble, and they’ve all been in this league for a while and had a head start on us.

“I’m just delighted with the way the lads have acquitted themselves and I am totally convinced we will get some fantastic results in places we’re not supposed to and will do the miracle, which is stay up. I honestly, totally believe it.”

Holloway deliberately went back to his tried and trusted against Newcastle after the poor display against Wigan. All the starting XI bar Matty Phillips were regulars in Pool’s Championship side last season.

The boss added: “I went back to what we’d been doing in the last 18 months. I thought it worked and we looked terrific.

“I haven’t been able to select from those in that fashion for most of the season.

“Keith was injured at the start. Other people came in and played well and we had some very good results.

“But Wigan’s shape and structure caused us more problems than it should have. I realised we needed to play like last year, with the three deeper midfielders.

“My new lad Elliot Grandin didn’t know how to do it. That was my fault but when it was going so well in the first half of the season it was difficult to change it.

“Against Newcastle, our closing and pressing was how it had been in the past and that makes you successful.

“The only downside is that we didn’t win because we certainly deserved to.”