IAN Holloway reckons his fact-finding visit to Spain has changed his life.
The Seasiders boss is now more in love with the Spanish game than ever and has vowed to change Pool’s training methods from top to bottom.
He says it won’t happen overnight, but by the start of next season he wants everyone at the club – from the youth set-up to the first team – to be playing in the same style.
“The trip was more than worth it – it has changed the rest of my life,” said an excited Holloway after his five-day trip to Madrid.
“I am a man on a mission now. I believed in the revolution of passing the ball before but now I believe in it even more. I believe everything they are doing in that country is fantastic.”
Holloway twice saw Spain’s World Cup-winning side train, as well as visiting Real and Atletico Madrid and Getafe.
He was given guided tours of training facilities and told the secrets of the Spaniards’ brand of football.
Holloway said: “It isn’t totally different to how we train but I think there are some things we can really learn from.
“I was trying to do this sort of thing anyway – to pass the ball and play football the way it should be played – but I am even more convinced that what I want to do is right and I am going to continue with it.
“From what I’ve seen, Spain’s teams do it at all levels and at all ages. They make the game harder for the opposition by making it tighter, and their players are getting better and better with the ball. That’s what I want my players to do.
“Will we get done if we try to do the same things? Possibly.
“I’ll have to be careful about how I introduce it. I’ll have to do it bit by bit but there is nothing I am more intent on doing.
“I just love watching Spain’s football and the way they pass the ball.
“They were always the nearly men who played lovely, but now I think the rest of the world is trailing in their wake because they dominate the ball better than anyone else.”
While Holloway was away, he left instructions for the reserves to play in a Barcelona-style 4-4-2, with the four in midfield forming a diamond.
It didn’t exactly work last Wednesday, when an experienced Pool second string were beaten 4-2 by a West Ham reserve side mainly made up of teenagers.
But the boss is determined to get it right. “It won’t happen overnight but believe me I am going to tweak the whole club. We are all going to do it,” he added.
“Most of my players can play the way these Spanish lads do. I am delighted with the work we’ve already done but it can always get better and it will.
“Obviously we are letting late goals in and I think I know why, so we are going to do things slightly differently and change things as we go along.”