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Holloway challenge to players

27 Sep 2013 18:46:54

Holloway challenge to players

Manager Ian Holloway has challenged his Crystal Palace players to box clever just like Muhammad Ali when their battle for Barclays Premier League survival continues at Southampton on Saturday.

The Eagles head to St Mary's on the back of a disappointing 2-0 home defeat by Swansea, where they never recovered from falling behind to a goal from Michu inside two minutes.

Despite his side having now lost four of the opening five matches on their return to the top flight since winning promotion via the play-offs, Holloway remains confident this new-look Palace squad will soon gel - and is determined to make them harder to beat while also capable of landing a knockout blow of their own.

"We will have to be slightly different away from home, but part of our game is drawing teams onto us and then knocking them out with a (sucker) punch," Holloway said.

"I don't think we are going to be a Sugar Ray Leonard, I think we are going to be more of a Muhammad Ali against Joe Frasier (rope-a-dope in the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle).

"I just want our lads to grow, and if we can give ourselves half a chance, then that will do.

"We are going to have to set our stall out and then look to counter-attack, maybe get a set-piece and hurt them, if we can get a goal, then away we go.

"It is more about staying in the games long enough when I can make those changes to try to go get the points - we have not had a draw yet, which is unbelievable if you think about the way we have played."

Southampton, who not so long ago were languishing in League One, picked up an impressive away win at previously unbeaten Liverpool last weekend as Mauricio Pochettino's side continue their own development back among the elite clubs of English football.

Holloway, though, is confident his men can rise to the challenge.


PA

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