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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 23, 2010

Holloway plays down dressing room bust-up

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway claims reports of a row during last week's thrashing at Chelsea are exaggerated.

Holloway admits there were heated words in the dressing-room but puts that down to a failure of tactics on his part. Blackpool were 4-0 down at half-time at Stamford Bridge after adopting an unfamiliar defensive approach against the Premier League champions.

Holloway switched to a more recognisable style after the break and, although Chelsea continued to bombard their goal, they avoided further damage. Holloway said: "People are assuming it was an argument, a disagreement - it was not.

"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.''

Meanwhile, 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 and the problem comes just weeks after he fractured a hand. Holloway said: "It is a shame for him, I think he is on the crest 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. He has definitely got meniscus trouble and they won't tell completely until they've been in there. He had a problem there when he was 16 so we can't tell from the scan.''

The injury is likely to keep Baptiste out of games against Liverpool and Manchester City in the coming weeks but Holloway hopes he is not too downbeat.

Holloway said: "He is a lucky young man, there are a lot of things a lot worse than that. I can assure you a knee injury will be fixed. It might take a few weeks, or four to six weeks, but keep your chin up, you lucky individual.''

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