Holloway: Zola now my equal

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway admitted he was glad to be taking on Gianfranco Zola as a manager rather than as a player ahead of Monday's Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Last Updated: 27/05/13 at 14:10 Post Comment

Ian Holloway: Now on a par with Gianfranco Zola as a manager, if not as a player

Ian Holloway: Now on a par with Gianfranco Zola as a manager, if not as a player

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Holloway may have earned plaudits for his no nonsense style of play as a midfielder for Bristol Rovers, Wimbledon, Brentford and QPR but he conceded he was in a different league to Hornets boss Zola.

The Italian was a star performer for Chelsea and Italy during an illustrious career but Holloway believes they are more evenly matched as managers.

"Differing careers is an understatement," said Holloway. "When have I ever scored a backheel at the near post?

"I'm not on the same page as a footballer, not in a million years. But we're both managers now.

"I don't know him that well but I have the utmost respect for him, he is so dignified, polite and nice.

"The way he played the game was the right way, so entertaining, and yet he is so humble you wouldn't know how good he was, there's not one air of conceitedness.

"That's why I'm delighted and honoured to be taking my team to face his because they play the way he did. I'm altogether more competitive, I had to compete because I wasn't as good as him so I had to work blooming hard.

"If anyone changed the course of Premier League football, he has to be looked at, he was one of the early imports who changed the mindset of kids. They all wanted to do the flicks and turns, they wanted to be Zola. He should be immensely proud of that."

Holloway has been highly critical of the way Watford used the loan system to sign 10 players from sister clubs Udinese and Granada.

He again raised concerns about the potential for young British players to progress in the Championship in the build-up to the game but he was less vociferous in his protestations this time.

"They used that better than anyone and I was very concerned at the time then if that law continues, how are any young English players going to get a game?" he added.

"But that's not to say Watford did it wrong, they did it right and Gianfranco has been a genius getting them all to play together.

"Well done to them, now let's get on with this final."

Holloway's criticism of the current loan system, which allows clubs to field five loan signings but does not set limits on foreign players, has led the Football League to make changes however.

"I was shocked they were allowed to have eight players from one team and I'm very proud it's not going to be allowed next season," said Holloway.

"And I don't care what happens to Watford next year if they don't go up.

"If I can't say what I feel, what's the point of giving me vocal chords? Now I'm very glad the Football League have changed the rules.

"Watford have utilised their owners' worldwide knowledge to take advantage. But I was very concerned if those laws continued in the Championship then how are any of our young English players going to get a game?"

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

think Finnegans Wake would have been a better reference point than Ulysses. Far more rambling and incomprehensible.

debra2927
Football People On TV: Garth Crooks

I

f I recall correctly, Degsy predicted a 100/1 shot correctly the week after his 150/1 Blackpool 4 - 3 Bolton call. I stuck a fiver on it as an idle bet. Paid for a stag do in Munich. Heady days...

baldini
Backing Hull To Beat United 2-1...

R

odgers prefers Joe Allen to Lucas? If this is true then I'm setting aside a fortnight to finally learn the rules of American Football and I'll give up on real football.

godzilla
The Jammy Gossip

Footer 365

Radamel Falcao to leave Manchester United after loan ends

Manchester United have confirmed Radamel Falcao will return to AS Monaco following his season-long loan with the club.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he'll leave if told by club owners

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said he knows the pressure is on him and will resign if asked to by the club's owners.

Jose Mourinho eyes Premier League title defence with new additions

Jose Mourinho may freshen up his Chelsea squad with new faces as the club look to defend their Premier League title next season.

Mail Box

Only One Real Manager Of The Year

Winning the Premier League with the best squad in the Premier League is only par; Ronald Koeman did a whole lot better. Plus, the last word on Raheem and...

Don't Slate Sterling For Ambition...

Raheem Sterling deserves credit for his desire to quit Liverpool, according to one mailboxer. Also: why football should not be compared to business and Degsy's latest spot of bother...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company