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Holloway salutes Phillips

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09 Feb 2013 06:47:05

Holloway salutes Phillips

Ian Holloway saluted old stager Kevin Phillips after his first goal for Crystal Palace secured a 2-2 draw at Watford.

Eagles boss Holloway raised a few eyebrows when he raided former club Blackpool on deadline day to land 39-year-old striker Phillips on loan, but the former England international repaid that faith with a trademark second-half finish 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

"What a class act, let's be honest," said Holloway. "I don't know anyone as professional as Kevin and that was a hard chance to put away. He's 39 going on 18, and I'm delighted for him."

Phillips' goal snatched a point which looked unlikely following a first half in which Watford blew their promotion rivals away. One of Watford's numerous Udinese loanees, Almen Abdi, fired the Hornets ahead in the sixth minute and teenager Nathaniel Chalobah doubled the lead but Palace pulled one back in the 66th minute when Peter Ramage prodded home.

Holloway, who is clearly not impressed with Watford's recruitment policy, felt his side showed Gianfranco Zola's cosmopolitan team too much respect in the first half.

"I need some foreign scouts, or to befriend a big club like they have, and to nick all their players," he added. "They've got nine from one club! It's a loophole and that's wrong. Unlimited foreign loans? It can't be right.

"I thought we were too worried about stopping them. I want to attack, so I thoroughly enjoyed the second half. We got what we deserved and maybe by the end we could have nicked something else. What we need from now on are some second-half performances in the first half."

Both sides could have gone second in the npower Championship with a win, but Zola had to settle for climbing up to third, level with Leicester for a few hours at least.

"After the first half we were not expecting anything like that," he admitted. "They played really well and caused us a lot of problems and we did not have the same freshness in our legs. And Phillips certainly made a difference.

"But there are 15 games to go and I don't want to be second now, I want to be second at the end of the season. It's going to be a race to the end."


PA

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