The Blackpool manager, Ian Holloway, said yesterday he was pleased his players were shouting at each other during the half-time break of last week's defeat to Chelsea, but denied that a bust-up had occurred in the dressing room.
Holloway admits there were heated words but puts that down to a failure of tactics on his part. The newly promoted club were 4-0 down 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, Blackpool avoided further damage.
"People are assuming it was an argument, a disagreement – it was not," Holloway said. "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.
"Their egos were smarting. They didn't want to produce a first half like that but, unfortunately, they could do nothing to stop what Chelsea did to us. They had listened to me and it didn't go well, so they thought they could say some things themselves. I soon put that right. I've got a proud group of lads who were smarting a bit. I had to shut them up and crack the whip a bit.
"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. I haven't seen that before or had to make allowances to track full-backs before and I will never do that again."
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 Chelsea loss.
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 with the problem coming just weeks after he fractured a hand.
Holloway said: "It is a shame for him, I think he is at the bottom 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 didn't feel it in the game but all of a sudden his knee has swollen up. Hopefully, the worst it will be will be four to six weeks, but it could be something else."