Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway admits referees have tough job

 

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway gritted his teeth, kept his temper in check and conceded Premier League referees have an impossible job.

Holloway has only just started a two-match touchline ban, in addition to receiving an £18,000 fine for an eruption after the opening-day loss to Tottenham, so he wisely opted to keep his counsel after watching his side reduced to 10 men in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Referee Jon Moss opted to dismiss Kagisho Dikgacoi for bundling down Ashley Young just before the break.

The foul itself was a debatable call. That TV replays showed the first contact took place outside the box and there were defenders around to cover merely compounded Holloway's woe.

"It is a weird feeling being up in the crowd and see how partisan their fans are," said Holloway.

"They were shouting for everything.

"They were shouting for stuff before we even kicked off. If you are in the middle and you have that whistle, it is very hard.

"I am glad I don't have it."

There were some who argued Young had dived anyway, which would have warranted a second yellow card for the Manchester United winger given he had already been booked after looking for a penalty after initiating contact with Dikgacoi earlier in the half.

"I don't talk about other people's players," said Holloway.

"If you want to meet me down the pub later on I will tell you exactly what I think."

The clear inference is not much, a view shared by Moyes, who reinforced his view of diving after the game.

"I don't want my players diving," he said.

Moyes said he would speak to Young about his conduct, which if a half-time conversation with Phil Neville during last season's Merseyside derby is any guide will not be pretty.

Neville, who followed Moyes to Old Trafford from Goodison Park in the summer, was given a "rollicking" by his boss for a dive that earned him a booking.

And Moyes also spoke about the curse in discussing Luis Suarez last season.

"I don't think there are many players out there who really do it," he said.

"But I would hope if I got one who did I would be big enough to say: 'Would you please stay on your feet and stop going down easy'."

It all rather overshadowed what Moyes will regard as a positive step forward.

Robin van Persie ended a two-match barren streak by firing home from the spot, whilst, with Sir Alex Ferguson watching on, Wayne Rooney curled home a superb free-kick, his first goal since March.

In short bursts United were impressive and Marouane Fellaini's second-half introduction brought the security in possession Moyes had demanded.

Fellaini almost marked his debut with a goal but his thunder was stolen by fellow Belgian Adnan Januzaj.

Just over a decade after Cristiano Ronaldo made his sparkling debut against Bolton, Januzaj brought a similar current of excitement.

"Everybody knows Adnan has a lot of quality," said Fellaini.

"He is the future of Manchester United. He did very well in this game but he needs to work hard."

It is a sentiment the 18-year-old understands.

"I was shocked," he said.

"I played for 25 minutes. My family were watching me too so I am very happy.

"I want more games and hope I will have another chance to play for the first-team but I appreciate it is only the start."

Holloway knows Palace's status will not rest on the outcome of trips to Old Trafford.

But he will also nurse a nagging sense of what might have been given one-time carpenter Dwight Gayle came agonisingly close to putting the visitors in front with their best chance.

"I believe in Dwight totally," said Holloway, who confirmed Joel Ward is likely to miss next Sunday's encounter with Swansea after picking up a calf injury in training.

"Hopefully he will have many opportunities at this level and he will score as many as he misses."

PA

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