Holloway disappointed with Crystal Palace, slams officiating

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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.

(MORE: Tottenham’s new look midfield still a work in progress)

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.”

(MORE: Crystal Palace 0 – Tottenham 1; Soldado’s penalty kick seals Spurs win)

Holloway had been extremely late to his post-match press conference, after staying behind to speak to the referee about the penalty decision.

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Holloway felt his side “lacked confidence” on the ball.

“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.

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

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Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]

Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

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Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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