Ian Holloway says any player would want to be coached by calm Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

Ian Holloway has hailed promotion-winning Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley as a boss anyone would want to play for.

Monday, 31st May 2021, 6:19 pm

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Like Critchley, Holloway steered the Seasiders to promotion via the play-offs in his first full season in charge, guiding them to the Premier League in 2010.

Nine managers have come and gone from Bloomfield Road between Holloway's exit and Critchley's arrival, but the club's top-flight leader believes the current team boss is someone special.

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Ian Holloway was at Wembley on Sunday as a pundit for EFL on Quest
Ian Holloway was at Wembley on Sunday as a pundit for EFL on Quest

Speaking as a pundit on EFL on Quest. Holloway said: "Neil Critchley should be really proud of himself because when he took over there wasn't really a team there. He was trying to build that togetherness in a Covid situation.

"He's used his knowledge but you've still got to make big decisions and he's done it so calmly.

"He's got that look that any one of us would like to play for him because if you make a mistake I think he'll put his arm around you. Massive credit to him, well done."

That calmness extended to the players, who never panicked after Ollie Turton's first-minute own goal.

Holloway added: "What a nightmare for the centre-half. I don't know what he was thinking but first time he's touched it it's gone in his own net.

"But the own goal almost shook Lincoln. They didn't know whether they should carry on playing.

"It didn't faze Blackpool. On Saturday, Swansea let a goal in (against Brentford in the Championship play-off final) and it fazed them, so well done Blackpool.

"It says they know what they are doing, they are confident in their game plan and on they went. You could see that coming earlier in the play-offs. They did brilliantly."

And as fellow members of the "midfield union" Holloway reserved special praise for two-goal matchwinner Kenny Dougall.

He added: "I'm so proud of him. My dad always told me to practise your left as well as your right and he caught them both so perfectly.

"But that's what you need - when you are not getting behind people you need to be able to strike it from the edge of the box. He didn't hit the case off it, he actually guided it."

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