Hughes defends Blackpool selection

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The Independent Football

Mark Hughes today came out in support of Ian Holloway after the Blackpool boss risked a Premier League punishment for making 10 changes for last night's 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa.

The Premier League confirmed this morning they were investigating Holloway's actions, which could be perceived as fielding a weakened side.

A precedent was set last year when Wolves were hit with a suspended £25,000 fine after manager Mick McCarthy made 10 changes to his side to face Manchester United.

McCarthy admitted resting players to give his side the best possible chance of beating Burnley in the following game, but Holloway yesterday insisted his side was not weakened and he had no choice because of the promoted club's busy schedule.

Fulham manager Hughes backed Holloway's decision this afternoon, saying: "I think he needs to be allowed to manage.

"Only he and his staff know the current state of his team and his players and if he feels that certain players need a rest and he could still put out a team that can compete at Premier League level - which they undoubtedly did at Villa last night - I think he's very much in his rights to do that.

"I think it'd be wrong if people start stepping in and telling managers who they should be picking."

Hughes reckons the Premier League would be wrong to punish Blackpool.

"They have to tread very carefully," he said.

"I know Ian and he's very passionate about his football club and his team.

"And if he makes a decision, I would imagine it's in the best interest of the group of players that he has.

"So if people on the outside want to influence that, I would say that would be incorrect."