Holloway: 'We won't fear Chelsea'

Holloway: 'We won't fear Chelsea'

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway feels his side must not be afraid to “throw a punch” when they clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

The Seasiders travel to a ground where Carlo Ancelotti’s men have hit eight goals without reply in two games so far this season, and lost only once in the Barclays Premier League last term on their way to being crowned champions.

Rangers produced a defensive masterclass against Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday to emerge from Old Trafford with a point, but Holloway wants his team to show a little more endeavour in attack when they take on the Blues.

“Obviously you have got to show respect and their home record is pretty awesome,” Holloway said.

“But if you step into the ring with a champion, which is what we are going to do, somewhere you have to throw a punch. You should never be afraid to attack.

“I watched Glasgow Rangers with great interest against Manchester United and with their 5-4-1 formation, they did really well – defensively, they were fantastic.

“But I still think you need to throw the odd punch.”

Holloway – whose side were beaten 6-0 at Arsenal last month – admits it will be difficult to judge exactly what standard Chelsea are at until the match gets under way on Sunday afternoon, but is adamant he will approach the task without fear.

Asked how good he thought Chelsea were, Holloway said: “I don’t know, I haven’t seen them yet – only on a tape. You only find out when you are on there against them.

“My lads will have to get a lot closer to them and a lot tighter to the ball, and not concede too much ground or make it ’races’, because we lost them against Arsenal and we will probably lose them against Chelsea.

“We have got to get our shape right and get our balance right. Hopefully if they do get any chances, Gillo (goalkeeper Matthew Gilks) will be in the form he was in last week.

“I want them to enjoy the game – away at Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, the champions who are unbeaten for who knows how many matches at home. It is a fantastic club we’re taking on.

“I’m respectful of everyone, but fearful of no-one.”

The defeat against Arsenal has been the only aberration in an otherwise impressive start to life in the Premier League for Blackpool, who were promoted in May via the Championship play-offs.

The Tangerines have won two of their opening four matches – a sensational 4-0 victory at Wigan and last weekend’s 2-0 triumph at Newcastle – and were only held to a draw in another thanks to a late equaliser at Bloomfield Road by Fulham’s Dickson Etuhu.

Those results have seen Holloway’s side move up to fourth place, although the manager remains open-minded about his team’s prospects for the rest of the season.

“There has always been a buzz and the only fear was that it would go pop,” he said.

“It still could because we have only played four games, but I think the lads have adapted really well and we have bounced back after the Arsenal game.

“It could happen again (against Chelsea) and maybe this division is that far ahead of us.

“Arsenal and Chelsea scored 10 goals between them last week in the Champions League against teams that were near the top of the divisions in their respective countries, so you don’t have to be a genius to see how far ahead of most of the rest of the world these clubs are with the money they have had pumped into them.

“We’re in that league now and I’m finding it quite amusing, but we’re going to try to do what we can do.”

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