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Premier League fine awaits Blackpool - Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy
McCarthy was fined after changing 10 players against Manchester United

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy thinks the Premier League will fine Ian Holloway after the Blackpool boss fielded a side with 10 changes at Aston Villa.

Wolves received a suspended £25,000 fine when McCarthy did the same against Manchester United in December 2009.

"They won't escape it, how can they? If they do then the Premier League is absolutely toothless," McCarthy said.

Holloway has apologised for suggesting McCarthy played a weakened team because he did not feel he could win.

The Seasiders boss made the comments, relating to Wolves' trip to Old Trafford, after his own much-changed side suffered a 3-2 defeat at Villa Park on Wednesday.

"Fair play to him, he has apologised and we will stay mates," McCarthy added.

Holloway, who has threatened to quit if Blackpool are given a similar punishment to Wolves, had tried to differentiate between the two cases by arguing that he picked a team to win the game, whereas McCarthy had accepted his team were unlikely to win.

Holloway had said: "Wolves went away to United and their manager openly said, 'I can't beat United so I'm going to play a lesser XI'. I went [to Villa] believing I could win. It's not the same scenario, I find it absolutely absurd.

"I've never been the manager of Wolves, Mick McCarthy's the manager of Wolves, and he said, 'I can't beat Manchester United'. More fool you Mick, because I believe I can. Maybe you don't believe in your team as much as I believe in mine."

In his Friday news conference ahead of Wolves' game against Bolton, McCarthy revealed he had spoken to Holloway and received an apology for the comments.


"Him making changes is not my issue, but comments about me and my team are my issue, and that's why I've spoken to him," McCarthy reflected.

"If anyone can find those comments from me, saying I couldn't beat Manchester United and was going to play a weakened side, then they are a better man than me.

"I was less than pleased when I saw the comments because me and Ollie are pals and have always been very supportive of each other. And he supported me last year when this happened to me."

While McCarthy stopped short of backing Holloway in his bid to avoid a fine, several other Premier League managers rallied behind the Blackpool boss.

Gerard Houllier, whose Villa side needed an 89th-minute header from James Collins to beat Blackpool, said he would be "very disappointed" if the Seasiders were fined.

"For those who were at the game, you wouldn't think Blackpool were playing some of their reserve team," he said.

"He [Holloway] played to win the game. We have a squad of 25 players, we can use all the players."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis echoed his views, commenting: "Who is to say the other 10 players he left out would have done as well as the 10 that played?"

Everton's David Moyes said team selections should not fall under the Premier League's jurisdiction.

"Managers have to do what is right for their club and I don't have a problem with that," Moyes stressed.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez said he did not understand what the "fuss" was about.

"I don't think anyone knows the physical and mental state of the players better than the manager," Martinez added.

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said a new rule brought in this season limiting teams to 25-man squads puts extra pressure on managers to use the full extent of their resources.

"We are allowed only 25 players now in our squad, so you would think if you are allowed only 25, then you have to declare you can use them how you want," Wenger commented.

"When you had 50 and you could use 50, you could say there was an opportunity sometimes to throw a game away.

"That is one of the few positive aspects of the 25-man squad, that you have to present decent players, which is what he did, and they gave big problems to Aston Villa."

The only slight note of discord came from West Ham manager Avram Grant, who said he might frown on an opposing manager fielding an under-strength side at the end of the season when Premier League survival is at stake.

Grant, whose team host Blackpool on Saturday, stated: "Of course, if it was in the end of the season and it affected the results of other teams I can't accept that you don't pick the best team.

"But when it's now, everybody needs to know that he's the manager and he can do what he needs to do."

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see also
Aston Villa 3-2 Blackpool
10 Nov 10 |  Premier League
I'll quit if I'm fined - Holloway
11 Nov 10 |  Blackpool
Holloway does a great job - Grant
12 Nov 10 |  West Ham
West Ham 0-0 Blackpool
13 Nov 10 |  Premier League
Wolves fined over team selection
18 Feb 10 |  Wolves

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