Angry Holloway defends changes

The Premier League may well be writing to Ian Holloway, the Blackpool manager, asking him to justify the 10 changes he made before the match against Aston Villa on Wednesday night – but it should not expect a swift reply. An incandescent Holloway ranted after the encounter, a game his side lost 3-2 in the dying moments, and complained that he can pick who he likes, whenever he likes and can make his side play in whatever style he likes.

Last season, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, Mick McCarthy, made 10 changes before his side's fixture at Manchester United which they eventually lost 3-0. McCarthy admitted he did not rate his side's chances in the match and therefore rested his more recognised starting XI for more winnable battles. It landed Wolves with a suspended £25,000 fine.

The same sort of punishment could now be feasibly heading for Bloomfield Road, prompting Holloway to threaten to quit. And yesterday he denied he had followed McCarthy's approach. "Absolutely not – not at all," Holloway replied when asked if he expects to hear from the Premier League. "First they would have to come up here, because why should I have to travel down there? Maybe I'll pop in on the way down to West Ham at the weekend, show them the team sheet and make sure they are happy with it and we can go from there. My chairman doesn't tell me how we should play, so I won't have someone from the Premier League doing it.

"But if they want to come to me and ask their questions I will explain it all in a calm and calculated way, because I'm a lot cooler than I was after the game, when we lost to a late goal. I won't go to Villa and say I don't mind losing, because I want every point I can get.

"I think it was an absolute disgrace to say we put out a weakened team. If the Premier League come looking to me to explain it, I can explain it every step of the way. Who the hell are they, with the greatest respect, to tell me if the players I've signed are good enough before they've had the chance to play?"

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