IAN Holloway revealed he has spent the last week examining every aspect of the Seasiders’ play – and he is now more convinced than ever that they will be a Premier League club again next season.
A run of one win in nine league games since the turn of the year has led to criticism from some quarters – not least the pundits on Match of the Day.
But Holloway’s message ahead of tonight’s mouth-watering encounter with Tottenham is, ‘Crisis, what crisis?’
Holloway said: “We’ve got to get back to the fact that nothing harms us. Everything should be just a flesh wound. We shouldn’t be mortally wounded by anything.
“You watch Match of the Day and you see your defence called embarrassing, as it was after the Aston Villa game. What are you on about? Three of Villa’s team played for England the other week and we drew with them.
“But it doesn’t rile me when we get criticised. We’ve got to get used to it. If we let goals in, you’ll get criticised everywhere.
“When you play from the back, like we do, there will be times when you get caught out. But I am proud we are brave enough to play that football.
“If you get caught up in all sorts of people’s opinions you can get a bit twisted. What is important is what I tell the new lads and remind the old lads of.
“The bottom line is that it wasn’t a disaster to lose five straight games before Villa because we already had enough points to keep us out of the bottom three.
“I’m delighted to be where we are. It’s not a crisis and as long as there are enough points to fight for there will never be a crisis, not at this club.
“That’s what goes wrong with some other teams. Teams can lose morale and belief as a unit. I can’t see that happening to us.”
After spending last week watching recordings of recent games and footage from last season, Holloway has done some fine-tuning.
But he reckons there is little wrong and says only bad luck has prevented Pool racking up more points.
“I wanted some time away from the lads to see if we were doing anything different, so I spent last week checking on all sorts of things – how we did at the end of last season, defensive tactics ... all sorts of stuff,” explained the boss.
“I wanted to see if there is much wrong and I genuinely don’t believe there is.
“It is only the balance and I’ve tweaked that. Now the lads know where they should be when we’ve got the ball and, more importantly, when we’ve not.
“For example, I found out that some of the widemen weren’t doing something that would help the full-backs. We can’t afford that against Tottenham, so I have nailed that.
“Whoever I put in those forward roles against Tottenham will understand exactly what I want if one of their widemen gets it.
“These may sound like little things but they add up and make a real difference.
“I’ve basically come back with a list of little points and I have reiterated what needs to be done.”
Pool face a real challenge against a Spurs side fresh from beating AC Milan in the San Siro and aiming to go third in the Premier League with a win tonight.
“It is a match to savour and my lads can’t wait,” said Holloway of a fixture postponed just before Christmas.
“Let’s see what happens in the next 12 games. Four wins should do it.”