Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 February 2018

Embarrassing defeat all my fault, insists Holloway

Crystal Palace 0 Swansea City 2

Gordon Simpson

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway described Swansea City's performance here as "embarrassingly good". For his side, it was simply embarrassing.

Holloway insisted that he should take the blame for his team's concerning display, as the Premier League newcomers had their weaknesses ruthlessly exposed by the irresistible Welsh outfit.

The Palace manager said that his absence from the touchline, as he served the last game of a two-match ban, had left his players without the leadership they required.

He added that his decision to give full debuts to three players – Barry Bannan, Adlene Guedioura and Cameron Jerome – had backfired, describing his players as looking like "strangers".

"I'm absolutely gutted," he said. "With the greatest respect, that is as bad as I ever want to feel sat here. I didn't enjoy any minute.

"It was my fault for not being on the line with them. I felt estranged and out of it, and they've got to feel that the manager's with them, so please blame me."

Holloway, who spent the match sitting in the stands and communicating via walkie-talkie, added: "Those new lads have just had a volley from me, because if I had that Palace shirt on I'd know what it would mean to me. I would have chased back and got back, I would have known my job.

PRISON

"Bill Shankly, my hero, said, 'What would you do if a player didn't try?' and he said, 'I'd put them in prison.' Fantastic. If I could, I would.

"Now, I'm not saying they didn't try. I'm saying I don't think we had that belief, because we had too many players who have only just come here and I've got to hold my hands up for that."

It took just 80 seconds for Swansea to carve Palace's defence open as Jonjo Shelvey slipped in the unmarked Michu, who beat Julian Speroni for his fifth of the campaign and the fastest goal of the Premier League season so far.

Swansea's second goal arrived three minutes after half-time, as debutant Alvaro Vazquez cut the ball back to Nathan Dyer to fire home from eight yards.

The visitors then wasted a host of opportunities to make the scoreline even more emphatic. But with Palace unable to get to grips with the speed of the opposition's passing and movement, the result was never in doubt.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup said: "It has been a fantastic week. I thought this would be a difficult game because it was on the back of playing Liverpool and Valencia, it's the third game in six days. I am really pleased with what the players did today. It always helps when you score in the first minute, but even so you have to play over 90 minutes. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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