IAN Holloway has admitted his team is “on the crest of a slump”, but has no doubts they have the character and desire to come good.
The Seasiders boss was disappointed at last night’s 3-1 defeat to West Ham, but not too disheartened.
He is certain his players will recover from a run of four straight defeats – he just wants them to maintain their belief and ignore the doom-mongers.
“We are on the crest of a slump at the moment, and we have to dig ourselves out of it,” he said.
“In this division you have to believe in yourselves, and keep going, and that’s what we have to do.
“We are going to need to get our shields out because I know all these people will start going on about what a bad run we’re on and all that nonsense. Well, shove it. We’ll have a go and that’s all we can do.
“I still think we are quite a few points above where people thought we’d be. But these horrible runs can get hold of you, and drag you down and we have to make sure everybody at the club doesn’t let that happen.
“We have to keep fighting and I still believe some of the things we did against West Ham will, on another day, get us the right result.
“We are still four points above them at the moment. It would have been lovely to be 10 points above them, but you need things to go your way and unfortunately that didn’t happen on the night. We were always going to have a difficult period. But this group of lads will dig in and fight back.”
Holloway’s mood has been buoyed by the fact that he now feels he has a squad in place which has the experience to do the business in the Premier League.
Andy Reid made an impressive full debut, while James Beattie looked a handful when he came on. He also has James Puncheon – an unused sub last night – to call on.
“We started the season with hardly any squad, and we worked really hard to bring one lot in. We’ve now brought another lot in and we need to get going again,” the boss added.
“That’s the reason I am still very upbeat – because I’ve never had such a good squad ... mind you, I’ve never been in such a good league either.
“We’ve got new players in and I was pleased with Andy Reid, who did well considering he hadn’t played much.
“I might actually feel like a Premier League manager now, because I’ve got a really good, strong squad to pick from. James Beattie, Marlon Harewood ... these boys are better than we’ve ever had before and they are experienced as well. I might have to leave some big people out and make sure they don’t get a sulk on when I bring them off.”
As if last night’s result wasn’t bad enough, centre back Craig Cathcart had to be replaced at half -time with a hamstring injury, and is a major doubt for Saturday’s trip to Everton.
“Things just don’t seem to be going our way – West Ham’s first goal summed it up last night,” added Holloway. “The shot from Victor Obina went through Richard Kingson’s fingers. We got back in it through a fantastic corner from Charlie.
“The bottom line is that we have exceeded what everyone involved in football thought we would do. But this is a slightly sticky patch and I am going to need this squad and we are going to need to stick together.”