Man United 4-2 Blackpool

Holloway: Relegation 'hard to take'

May 22, 2011

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway paid tribute to the performance his players gave at Old Trafford as they lost their battle to stay in the Premier League with a 4-2 defeat to champions Manchester United.

Ian Holloway
PA PhotosIan Holloway led Blackpool to the top, then the drop.

Charlie Adam and Gary Taylor-Fletcher had scored either side of the break to put the Seasiders in front after Park Ji-sung's first-half strike.

At that point, Holloway's men were clear of the drop zone, but Anderson then equalised and Ian Evatt turned Chris Smalling's cross into his own net before Michael Owen kicked them back into the Championship.

Holloway had vowed before the match they would attack United and his players were true to those words, but ultimately fell short.

"This is a special group down here and we're very disappointed right now,'' Holloway told Sky Sports 1. "After taking the lead, we had started to believe we can do this. You saw the way we played, the chances we created, we've got to take those.

"But United brought on Wayne Rooney, they're used to winning and we lost out. That aside, we've been absolutely outstanding and it's hard to take.''

Holloway aimed a parting shot at the Premier League after claiming his club were unfairly handicapped in their battle for survival.

Holloway tried to raise a smile as he assessed the devastation but with half a dozen key men virtually certain to leave, he could not hold the bitterness back.

"The fat lady has finished singing and I do not like the tune,'' he declared. "The Premier League have rung me up and said 'we really love you Ian Holloway'. But they have never helped me. It is a great league. But the people who run it shouldn't. There should be people above them telling them what to do.

"Nobody has to hear from me for another 12 months but hopefully I will get the chance to tell them about how they do things.''

Holloway's anger stems from being told he had to tell players by the third Saturday in May whether options on their contracts were being taken up. In the instances of Richard Kingson, Marlon Harewood and Brett Ormerod, all of whom were on the bench this afternoon, the answer was no.

Others - Ian Evatt and Keith Southern - are being retained but are now condemned to vastly reduced terms due to Blackpool's relegation.

"Ask yourself how you would have felt to be me on Monday morning,'' said Holloway. "The Football League give you five days after your last game. The Premier League told us we had to stick to the exact wording of the contracts.

"This was before the biggest game of my life. Surely common sense should have applied and I could have told them afterwards.''

Holloway added of the relegation: "You are famous for two seconds in football, then you are gone. If you aim for the stars, you might hit the moon.

"I have nothing but pride for my players and the way they have performed. I am ready for the fight to get us back.''