LONDON — Despite seeing his Crystal Palace side push Tottenham all the way in their opening Premier League game, Ian Holloway wasn’t impressed at all.
Spurs hung on, after a late flurry of chances for Palace, to claim a 1-0 win at a packed Selhurst Park in South London.
Holloway’s side got stuck in and battled hard to try and break down Spurs. But they lacked creativity and the Crystal Palace manager felt his side didn’t acquit themselves properly in the first half.
“Bit disappointed to be honest. Thought we normally play a bit better and quicker and sharper than that with the ball. Did we get to grip with it quick enough in the first half?” Holloway mused. “You know. I was disappointed with our lack of belief and our movement and passing really.”
Holloway then went on to talk about the decision to not award a free kick when Steven Dobbie was shoulder barged off the ball on the halfway line. Spurs then broke towards Palace’s goal and won the penalty kick that handed them all three points.
The eccentric 50-year-old manager was not happy with the handball decision given against Dean Moxey after Aaron Lennon’s right-wing cross hit his arm.
“We get a break into their half. Unbelievable shoulder barge on Dobbie and nothing was given. I was going crazy then. And then it lead to a completely, unbelievable, dubious handball,” Holloway said. “Was it deliberate? I didn’t think he had a chance. Yes his arms came up but he was diving on the floor. You ask anybody, if you’re falling what happens to your arms? I’ve never seen anybody fall with their arms by their side.”
Holloway had been extremely late to his post-match press conference, after staying behind to speak to the referee about the penalty decision.
“Yeah, why do you think I’ve been so long?” Holloway said after the gathered media waited for well over an hour. “It’s not really the referee’s fault is it. It should be the bloke stood right where I was. The linesman. We’ve got professional referee’s but we haven’t got professional linesmen. I can’t believe he didn’t see it.”
And Holloway’s rant continued, as he revealed his discussion with the referee about the penalty decision.
“They’re [referee’s] always right aren’t they,” Holloway said. “I’ve got no problem with the referee. I don’t want to get into trouble. It’s my first game back. If you didn’t see a foul there, if you think this is sour grapes then fine.”
No matter what you think about Holloway’s comments post game, it was certainly surprising to hear him expressing his disappointment about his sides display. The former Blackpool manager, who played an attacking brand of soccer when the Tangerines were in the Premier League in 2010-11, conceded that his side will have to play more defensive to try and get wins this year.
Lacking in creative nous and pace, Holloway added that he wants to bring in new signings with attackers the main focus.
Holloway, typically, had a clever quip about that. “I’m going to try [and bring in signings] ask Mr. Wenger if he’s confident of getting some signings. It’s not easy for any of us, however much you’ve got.”
Whether or not Holloway can bring in much needed new faces remains to be seen. His side have plenty of defensive stability and commitment… But that will only get you so far in the Premier League.
Holloway wants belief and confidence from his players and he needs that sooner, rather than later.