x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Holloway hails Di Matteo for a stunning start

The Blackpool manager welcomes Roberto Di Matteo¿s West Bromwich Albion to Bloomfield Road tonight ¿ and admits he would love to have played under the Italian.

Ian Holloway, the Blackpool manager, welcomes Roberto Di Matteo's West Bromwich Albion to Bloomfield Road tonight - and admits he would love to have played under the Italian.

West Brom make the trip knowing a victory would take them above Manchester City and into fourth place in the table.

Di Matteo's side have enjoyed an impressive return to the top flight so far, winning at Arsenal and coming from two goals down to draw at Manchester United.

Holloway feels the Italian, who took his first job in management at MK Dons in League One, two tiers below the Premier League, little more than two years ago, should take a lot of the credit.

"I think he [Di Matteo] and [assistant] Eddie [Newton, the former Chelsea midfielder] are fantastic. They look like you want to play for them yourself," said Holloway.

"They've just taken [the Premier League] by storm, passing the ball, moving it. They've very solid as well at the back and have some very exciting forward options.

"He's [Di Matteo] a great fellow. I didn't really know him until the game up here last year and probably spent nearly 20 minutes talking to him, absolutely top man.

"He's got a very calm way about him and I think he's going to do very well. He's enjoying managing people and making them better players. I'm delighted for him."

Blackpool started their maiden Premier League campaign impressively themselves, but have since suffered back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Birmingham City.

Holloway wants his side to take advantage of two home games in a row - they host Everton next Saturday - to get their fourth victory.

"We were expected to get relegated and it will be the biggest shock ever if we can stay up," he added.

* Press Association

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