Holloway keeps his own counsel on Man Utd penalty controversy
CRYSTAL Palace manager Ian Holloway refused to be drawn on today’s controversial penalty decision which saw the Eagles fall behind and reduced to 10-men at Manchester United.
Instead of going in level at the break against the champions, Kagisho Dikgacoi was red carded on the stroke of half-time for a foul on Ashley Young, although televised replays clearly showed the offence had taken place outside of the area.
Robin Van Persie made no mistake with the penalty and the result was put beyond doubt nine minutes from the end when Wayne Rooney smashed home a free-kick.
But having been hit with a fine and touchline ban which forced him to watch today’s match from the stands following comments made after the opening day defeat at the hands of Spurs, Holloway was reluctant to comment on the big talking point.
The Selhurst chief said: “I can’t make anything of it. My opinion doesn’t count, I’ve realised that now.
“I know I can talk about what led to it, which was us playing the occasion rather than the game.
“I thought a few of our passes went astray.
“Funnily enough we passed that to Mr Young but you will have to judge it yourselves I’m afraid.
“It happened, the referee saw it that way and he has done it. I can only talk about after that.”
Holloway was also impressed by the way his 10-man side responded after the break.
“I thought we settled down,” the manager explained.
“I thought we did very well in the second half and it is a little bit frustrating that for me we didn’t start as free as we were in the second half in the first half because that (the penalty) might not have happened.
“We are at the stage where we are trying to learn how to deal with an occasion like this.
“We had Wembley and it was excellent, we had Brighton and it was fantastic.
“Now we are in the big league as they say and we’ve got to come here and try and impose ourselves.
“Without the ball we did well, we stopped them and limited them to very little.
“With the ball we weren’t very good for 20 or 30 minutes.
“If we’d have scored when Gayle had the one chance for us you would have seen all sorts of belief then I think. I think that was a very positive day for us.
“The last time I played a big team with only 10-men we got beat 6-0 (Blackpool v Arsenal).
“We didn’t even look like that or being close to doing that so I’d rather move on.
“I’d rather talk about the positives.
“There are lots of turning points in games, I’d rather talk about my team after really.
“I think I’m a lot safer and it is cheaper for me to be fair.”
Overall, Holloway was convinced there was plenty for his side to build on from today’s effort in the coming months as they bid to prove the experts wrong and retain their hard-earned top flight status.
He said: “We are just going to get stronger, we need to.
“We need to realise what we did, what we got wrong and I just believe it is about getting this group together now. I’m delighted with the group, I’m really pleased with them after that.
“I think we’ve learnt an awful lot from today.
“Damage limitation – our goal difference isn’t too bad and it could have been a lot, lot worse but it wasn’t.”
Holloway added: “I was pleased that without the ball we looked like we can look, which was pretty solid.
“There was one incident I was delighted with and we showed all sorts of oomph and togetherness when it dropped at Rooney’s feet and before he knew it there was four or five of us around him smashing into him.
“I think that shows what palace is all about.
“Our crowd was absolutely hilarious.
“I probably noticed them more because it was echoing up towards me and I’m just very, very proud.”
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