Monday 22 January 2018

Holloway plays down talk of dressing-room row as Baptiste suffers setback

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway claims reports of a dressing-room bust-up during last week's thrashing at Chelsea are exaggerated.

Holloway admits there were heated words but puts it down to a failure of tactics on his part. The newly promoted Tangerines were losing 4-0 at half-time at Stamford Bridge after adopting an unfamiliar defensive approach.

Holloway switched to a more recognisable style after the break and, although Chelsea continued to bombard their goal, they avoided further damage.

Holloway said: "People are assuming it was an argument, a disagreement -- it was not. It was people saying, 'we can't do this', 'we can't do that' or 'we should be a lot deeper'.

"I don't blame them, if they'd have sat there and not said a word I would have thought there was something wrong with my boys.

"For the second half I managed to calm them down, talk about what I felt, change the tactics and it worked, to some extent. I had to hold my hand up and I took full blame because I told them to do something that didn't work at all."

Blackpool are likely to be without Alex Baptiste for at least a month after the defender suffered a recurrence of an old knee injury in the defeat to Chelsea.


The 24-year-old experienced swelling after the match and a scan on the joint has proved inconclusive.

Baptiste will now need exploratory surgery to assess the extent of what is believed to be ligament damage and the problem comes just weeks after he fractured a hand.

Holloway said: "It is a shame for him, I think he is on the crest of a slump. He has had a bad hand because DJ (Campbell) smashed the ball at him -- that was painful enough -- and now he has had a recurrence of a knee injury he has had for years. He had a problem there when he was 16 so we can't tell from the scan."

The injury is likely to keep Baptiste out of games against Liverpool and Manchester City in the coming weeks, but Holloway hopes he is not too downbeat.

"He is a lucky young man, there are a lot of things a lot worse than that," he said.

"I can assure you a knee injury will be fixed. It might take a few weeks, or four to six weeks, but keep your chin up, you lucky individual."

Despite the heavy defeat by Chelsea and a 6-0 hammering by Arsenal, Blackpool have made an encouraging start to their first season of top-flight football for 40 years.

They have seven points from five games -- as many as Everton and Liverpool combined -- ahead of tomorrow's home clash against Blackburn.

Irish Independent

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