Holloway laughs off mis-match talk in plotting City's downfall

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The Independent Football

There are many ways to measure the disparity in resources between Blackpool and Manchester City, but perhaps the most revealing is that City have paid Yaya Touré as much in wages, since he joined the club in July, as the £2.8m Ian Holloway spent strengthening his team for their first season in the Premier League.

The Blackpool manager cannot, however, afford to think too deeply about what this contrast means as he prepares to face City at Bloomfield Road tomorrow, nor can he allow his players to. "I suppose to outsiders this will be the biggest mis-match in the history of football because of our financial situations," he said, "but let's see what we can do.

"If I looked at it in terms of money, would I even come into work? I'd feel I stand no chance, so what's the point of coming in. If it was all about how much you're on we'd be bottom of the league by a zillion miles. Life ain't about the shirt you wear, the car you drive, or how much you're on. It's about how much you care about the job you do.

"I've been at a club that paid more than other people [Leicester City], and I lost my job and didn't get another for 15 months. So I've learned that it's what you do, and what you say every day, that is more important.

"The money won't affect me but I felt it was affecting my lads before the Liverpool game, that they were looking at it. I reminded them we were a point above them, and this is a League game – we're in the same division as them on merit. And I'll be doing the same thing with Manchester City."

It is traditional for previews of such apparent mis-matches to focus on the possibility of the big club with the famous names being roughed up by their lesser-known opponents. Yet it is City whose challenges will be under scrutiny, specifically that of Nigel de Jong following the broken leg suffered by Hatem Ben Arfa when tackled by the Dutch midfielder.

Roberto Mancini robustly defended De Jong yesterday. "I'm very disappointed with the people who spoke about it," said the City manager. "I'm really sorry for Ben Arfa. He is a good player and I hope he can play again very soon, but I think it was very unlucky because it was a normal tackle. In football these things can happen.

"Nigel is a hard player, but in England, Italy, Spain there are a lot of players like him, who play 100 per cent always for the team. Sometimes they can do one or two tackles hard, but he's an honest player.

"I remember the foul. The ref [Martin Atkinson, who did not give a free-kick] was one metre away. None of the players around said anything like it was bad tackle."

Mancini said he had spoken to De Jong and the player was ready to play, but added he had warned the midfielder to "pay attention in the next two or three games because referees could see him in a different way."

At Blackpool Holloway stressed: "I won't say 'go kick em' – I want to hurt them with attacking football." Scoffing at Mancini's suggestion that Blackpool was like Rimini ("it's a cheap place is it? Would you find a donkey walking down the street there? Can you get a stick of rock? Have they got a big dipper?") Holloway added he wanted it to be "hell – I want our fans to make such a noise, and our lads to be so encouraged, that they're going to find us a tough opponent."

Holloway will be serving a one-match touchline ban after admitting swearing at referee Mike Dean following his side's home defeat to Blackburn. Holloway took solace in the fact he would not be compared sartorially with Mancini but admitted "I don't feel like I'll be able to do my job properly. I haven't learned how to behave. I'd better have a word with my mum, for letting me get away with too many tantrums."

Temper was also on the agenda at City after Mancini's row with captain Carlos Tevez. The Italian intimated he had provoked it deliberately because his players had under-estimated Newcastle. "I needed a reaction. Against Chelsea we concentrated 100 per cent and played very well. To think Newcastle are worse than Chelsea is a big mistake. You can't play 100 per cent if you think like this." That message will be just as apposite tomorrow.

The have-nots and the have-it-alls

Stadium Capacity

Blackpool: 16,200 (average 15,715)

Manchester City: 47,726 (average 46,150)

Owner (personal wealth

Blackpool: Owen Oyston 80% (£105m) / Valeri Belokon 20% (£300m)

Manchester City: Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahayan (£16bn)

Transfer fees paid in the summer

Blackpool: £1.25m DJ Campbell from Leicester, August 2010

Manchester City: £32.5m Robinho from Real Madrid, September 2008

Record fee received

Blackpool: £1.75m Brett Ormerod to Southampton, December 2001

Chelsea: £21m Shaun Wright-Phillips to Chelsea, July 2005

Highest weekly earner

Blackpool: Charlie Adam £10,000

Manchester City: Yaya Touré £185,000

Manager's salary

Blackpool: Ian Holloway £750,000

Manchester City: Roberto Mancini £2m

Cost of squad

Blackpool: £4.5m

Manchester City: £325m