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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ian Holloway Looks Forward, Looks Back

"...If you have sat in your garden for five months, and probably been put their unfairly in your own mind, then hopefully your enthusiasm doesn't wane."

[NB: Holloway's latest signing is 34-year old Barry Hayles from Millwall. When Holloway was at QPR, QPR were linked with a Hayles interest."

Plymouth Official Site
Ollie's Opinion - A WAVE OF OPTIMISM

ARGYLE manager Ian Holloway was delighted with his team's 5-1 victory over Austrian club FC Gratkorn in Wednesday night's friendly match.
...."To win from 1-0 down, I am very pleased," said Holloway.
"It was another good training session and the lads were fantastic, absolutely excellent again and I can't fault their attitude and application.
"We have had six training sessions in two days and a game, and I have run them afterwards, so we will have a nice chill out on Thursday and maybe have a free day.
"They will have a massage in the evening and then we have got the big game (Real Madrid), and I am looking forward to it."
...."We had some very exciting performances out there and it is nice for a striker to get off the mark," said Holloway.
"Sylvan is a good lad and he works hard, and it is about him becoming what I want him to be; he is nowhere near there yet but it is a little piece at a time.
"It is amazing how hard centre-forwards work and we have now got another one at the club as well."
The former Manchester United striker's second goal came from a ball over the top by Paul Connolly; a strategy Holloway has worked on in training.
"There is no such thing as a long ball or a short ball; you have got to play the right ball," said Holloway.
"I don't think we had that much pace over the top last year and what we have to do is get used to making runs.
"You have to earn the right to stretch teams and we have got that now; I think we have got some legs up front and that is what we needed, and so it proved tonight.
"I think Connolly has played two passes inside and given the ball away, and then he played the right one at the right time and the game opened up for us."
....Holloway said: "There is a long, long way to go but there were an awful lot of positives and I need to write them down and make sure I pick on the bits I wasn't happy with it.
"There is an awful lot of talent there and a lot of solidity in the team and I am delighted, but there are still things that I have to iron out.
"They will get there, they are all listening and everything feels very good at the moment, but we have not done anything yet."
There has been a wave of optimism sweeping over the club since Holloway's appointment, but the man himself was keen to point out that nothing has been achieved yet.
The former Q.P.R. manager is fully aware of the downside of football management, having spent five months on gardening leave from the Loftus Road club before joining the Pilgrims.
He said: "We have got no points on the board, we haven't even played a league game and we are in a tough division.
"We need to calm down, but it is nice to have some optimism, and I feel very optimistic.
"If you have sat in your garden for five months, and probably been put their unfairly in your own mind, then hopefully your enthusiasm doesn't wane."
With the Q.P.R. experience behind him, Holloway is hoping to make his mark with Argyle and leave a legacy to proud of.
"At the moment this lads are making me very proud and I want to try and make my mark," said Holloway.
"I am very proud of what people have done at Plymouth, and particularly what Paul Sturrock did a few years ago, and I want people to be equally proud of me.
"I am sure I can walk into two grounds (Bristol Rovers and Q.P.R.) at the moment and get a decent reception, and I want to make that three.
"I want people to appreciate me while I am here and I have never felt so welcome in all my life."
Holloway's final word was reserved for the Green Army, who made a fantastic noise at the Rudersdorf Stadium. He said: "I can't get over it, they were shouting so much I couldn't even concentrate; it is just marvellous.
"Everything feels right and I know in football management it normally all ends in tears but I hope it is a very, very long time before I start crying."

Plymouth Official Site
ARGYLE manager Ian Holloway is delighted with the training facilities and the hotel during the Austrian tour.
He has taken the opportunity to have more time with the squad after spending much of the first fortnight of his managerial reign focusing on recruiting new players for the coming season.
...."I am doing what I like best and that is out on the training field, and they're getting to know me and I am getting to know them."
There are a number of objectives for the squad during the tour of Austria but for Holloway, setting certain standards is top of the list.
The manager is particularly pleased with the approach of his team and their understanding of the need to be serious at the appropriate time.
Holloway said: "I think they will know me a little better now and everybody talks about team-bonding, but it is about standards really and I have to set the standard.
"I have to raise the bar to what everybody here expects because that is what I want; I want to talk about the Premiership, and how we are going to get there.
"When you are travelling and working, there is a time to be focused and a time to relax; you cannot possibly be focused all the time.
"I am so pleased that these lads know when to be serious and they know when they can relax and enjoy themselves."
The intensity of the training sessions has been a constant theme of the tour thus far, and Holloway believes that variety is a crucial factor in keeping the players interested and motivated.
He also believes in the need for players to encourage each other at all times.
Holloway said: "I like a bit of variety because there are many aspects to football.
"I like to do things properly and I like to do it for an hour-and-a-half, which replicates how long they have to concentrate for in a game.
"I look at it like a huge bag of footballs, and each ball represents one skill, whether it is attacking, defending, heading or whatever it is, we take the ball out, polish it up and end on an enjoyable note.
"Hopefully, they can learn while enjoying themselves and that is what it is all about.
"I think they are very blunt, which I like because nothing is ever hidden and they say it how it is.
"Sometimes they don't do it in the most encouraging way, so I have to try and persuade them to do things and not beat people up."
Holloway has been very impressed with the atmosphere within the group, and feels that he has the attributes that can help the team develop.
He said: "Being the person that I am, I think I can help them and I am delighted with them, and they need to end on a positive note because if you say something negative to me, I might get my back up but if you say it in a positive way then I might go with it.
"I always try and finish everything I do with energy and enthusiasm because without that you've got nothing.
"Even when you make mistakes, hopefully they will be energetic ones and you will learn from it.
"I'm delighted with the atmosphere so far, all be it that we haven't done anything but in pre-season games you want to get people fit, get some structure and, most importantly, set your standards; as a human being first and a football manager second."
.... Holloway said: "I'll be using the next two games for fitness purposes and when we return, I'll be looking at the games against Yeovil and Bristol Rovers to see my main team.
"By the time we play Wolves I will be hoping to look at my best eleven but I am trying to build a squad.
"I need horses for courses, and in certain games I will need someone who can head a ball against the likes of Gregorz Rasiak perhaps.
"I need to add to what we have got and I am desperate to keep them solid as a group.
"It is not about the individual; it is about the team, about Plymouth Argyle and wanting to be a part of that, and what we can bring to that and how we move forward.
"I want the same from supporters; I don't want barracking, I want everyone to be encouraged and I want our place to become a fortress.
"I will give criticism when it is the right time but I will always make it constructive.
"Hopefully by the end of the trip, people will understand what I am all about."
Holloway now feels that he is getting to know the squad, and they are becoming more familiar with his methods.
He concedes that everyone is still riding on the wave of optimism that has swept the club since his arrival, but he warned that the real test will come when things are not going so well.
Holloway said: "It took me a few months last time I got a new club but you can already see with me that there are times when I like to enjoy my life, and times when I will jump down on someone but I haven't had to do that yet.
You find out about people when things are going wrong; you find out nothing when it is all going well.
"Anybody can manage and play when it is going well but when your team is behind, what are you going to do about it.
"The other day we had an Old v Young game in training, and the young ones were 2-0 up at half-time, so I said one or two things to the old ones and they got it back to 2-2 and won on penalties.
"Training is a practice for a match, and if you don't get it right in training you will never get it right on a match-day.
"It is a tough division we are in but I think we are pretty tough."

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