Holloway’s pride and joy over display

Nathan Delfouneso scores Blackpool's opening goal
Nathan Delfouneso scores Blackpool's opening goal
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IAN Holloway claims last night’s superb performance justifies his squad rotation policy.

The Seasiders swept Middlesbrough away on a wet and windy evening at Bloomfield Road.

And after raising eyebrows with six changes in both of the last two games, Holloway believes last night’s win proves his point. He said: “I thought the changes justified what I did with the team at the weekend. Yes, we didn’t get the points at Barnsley but the I’m liking the stats we are producing at the moment.

“That’s a very good side we beat and I think we deserved the win. It was fantastic – what a great performance. They showed great movement, great passing and great goals. All you can do is try to produce the sort of quality we have over the last couple of weeks. I’m delighted – my team played really, really well.”

Blackpool totally dominated the first half only for a Andre Bikey header in stoppage time to give the away side a lifeline. But Holloway thought his side responded well. “That’s football for you. You can see the boost that gave them in the second half. “We played so well and needed the third goal in the first half really. When Nathan had the chance of his third in the first half I thought that could be the moment. It was a great move. Fletch nodded it down and it was probably Nathan’s easiest effort of the night and he stuck it over.

“They got a real lift from the goal. We forgot how to pass the ball at the start of the second half. It wasn’t until Incey made something out of nothing for us that we settled down.” Ince’s goal settled Pool down and from then on there was only going to be one winner.

And Holloway couldn’t be prouder. “To be able to take off Tom Ince and replace him with Matt Phillips shows the luxury I have here at the minute,” he said. All I can say is, I’m very pleased. The confidence is coming. We have 40 games left, and we’ll have to come back from bad spells and things like that. The lads are working really hard for each other.”

Holloway thought Delfouneso had sealed his hat-trick late on only for the linesman’s flag to rule it out. Not that the Pool boss noticed. “I’ve never celebrated a goal like that. I was jumping about like a lunatic.

The manager refused to be drawn on the penalty incident. After being fouled in the box, everyone expected Delfouneso to be handed the chance to score his third of the game only for Elliot Grandin to insist on taking the spot-kick.

“I’d rather not talk about that in public,” Holloway said. “I’ve told the lads what I think and I’ll keep that to ourselves. I’ve given all the lads a few days off now – I’d told them that before the game. Maybe that helped.”