IAN Holloway claimed Blackpool’s performance against champions Chelsea showed they have the character to survive in the Premier League, insisting no-one at the club will ever “down tools and stop trying”.
Despite the 3-1 defeat at Bloomfield Road, the manager could not have been prouder of his team as they pushed Carlo Ancelotti’s millionaires all the way and gave them a late scare in the process.
With nine games to go, the Seasiders remain just two points from dropping into the bottom three for the first time all season.
But Holloway insists there is the right spirit within the dressing room to ensure a second season of top-flight football.
The manager said: “To see Chelsea before the game, out there in their immaculate kit after getting off their immaculate bus, you have to pinch yourself. It was another great occasion for the supporters and the town ... but we want more of it.
“We don’t want to be a one-hit wonder, so we have to try to dig and fight and scrap and do what we can to get us the points we need.
“It will be tough but all I will say is that nobody will ever down tools at this club and no-one will ever, ever stop trying until that final whistle has blown.
“We displayed that type of spirit and character again against Chelsea and I am proud of them.
“I believe we can stay up. This is the year of the underdog and there has never been a dog so under in the history of this level and that is the truth.
“I am so proud of it – I will give it a bone if I can, put it by the fire and let it have a little rest.”
His pride was justified after the Seasiders, without the suspended Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell, gave Chelsea a stern examination throughout.
Holloway added: “I was very pleased because I thought we looked good. If you are playing a team which has cost £300m and you only lose 3-1 and have loads of chances, then you’ve got to be chuffed at that.
“I’m just very hurt that we didn’t get a little bit more. Getting a goal closer to them would have made me feel better because I felt we deserved to be closer.
“It would also have helped our goal difference too and that might be vital by the end of the season with how tight it is (Pool would have dropped a place to 16th but for Jason Puncheon’s late consolation goal).
“But then you look at the galaxy of stars Chelsea have and how well our boys have played, and I can’t be too unhappy.
“We all wanted some points but for us to be that close to them is a proud day for me.
“We have a mini-marathon with nine games coming up. We are going to need three wins out of that, or two wins and a couple of draws.”
With no Premier League matches this weekend, the Seasiders are next in action away to fellow relegation battlers Blackburn on Saturday week.