IAN Holloway wants his players to laugh their way to Premier League survival.
The Seasiders boss believes one of the key reasons behind his team’s success is they don’t let the pressure of trying to win games get too much.
That’s because the manager insists that whatever they do, they have a smile on their faces.
“Sometimes you can take things too seriously and I don’t want my lads thinking they are under pressure,” he said.
“I had a laugh with Neil Eardley during the Liverpool match when the ball bobbled over his foot. He looked at me a little worried because sometimes he can be a bit negative. But I just laughed and said ‘you need bigger feet to deal with that bobble’.
“When Stephen Crainey did that bad pass against Birmingham, which cost us the first goal, I had a go at him.
But I didn’t have a go because of the pass – I told him off for showing disappointment when he gave away the ball. Because what about all his good passes?
“I’ve realised life’s all about encouragement – life without encouragement is no fun.
“There is no secret. It’s just trying to enjoy what you do every day, and at some clubs I don’t think you are allowed to do that. Their fans won’t let them enjoy it.
“There is pressure on straight away, like there is on Kenny Dalglish.
“He got slaughtered after they lost to us, but how can the papers say things like that when the bloke has only been in charge for two games? I find it really strange.
“Let’s all lighten up and enjoy football a little more – that’s what I want my lads to do at this club, and so far it has served us pretty well.”
Holloway was aiming to secure another three points at West Brom today, where Elliot Grandin is the only doubt, with a sore hamstring. Matty Phillips is the most likely replacement.
“I know Roberto Di Matteo watched our game with Liverpool, and I’m sure he’ll look at our bad defending for their opener and try to exploit that,” said Holloway.
“Roberto probably knows more about us than any other Premier League boss, as he played us twice last year and beat us twice.
“So it will be an unbelievably tough game, but once again we will go there and play exciting, attacking football.”
Marlon Harewood (hamstring) won’t be available until the end of the month at best. It is that kind of injury which has persuaded Holloway he needs to add three or four new faces before the end of the month.
He is being linked with half-a-dozen players, including Adam Hammill, Plymouth’s Bradley-Wright Phillips and West Brom’s Giles Barnes.
But Holloway is also keen to ensure he treats players already at the club in the right manner, and is well aware players such as Keith Southern and Brett Ormerod have been struggling to get a game of late.
He said: “I will take everybody’s own personal situation into account and I won’t use and abuse anybody. I have a lot of great lads here from last year that haven’t been playing.
“If I need to duck and dive and wheel and deal, I will.
“But my lot have been brilliant so far. None of them has moaned, and I will have to consider their wishes.”