Men­tal­ity is wrong says the man­ager

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­

BE­LEA­GUERED Bolton boss Dougie Freed­man ad­mit­ted too many of his play­ers had a “los­ing men­tal­ity” af­ter see­ing them squan­der a two-goal lead.

Lead­ing through strikes from Chung-Yong Lee and Lukas Jutkiewicz, the Trot­ters were pun­ished for tak­ing their foot off the gas as first Lewis Grab­ban and then Si­mon Fran­cis net­ted for the Cher­ries.

And it was all too much for Bolton fans, who have seen their side win just two league games at home all sea­son.

Hav­ing echoed with the sound of fans chant­ing ‘At­tack! At­tack! At­tack!’ for much of the sec­ond half, full-time saw the Ree­bok erupt in a cho­rus of boos, and Freed­man ad­mit­ted he would have done the same in their place.

“I can un­der­stand that, no prob­lem at all,” said the Bolton boss. “They pay good money and they want to see bet­ter.

“And I share their frus­tra­tion. When we’re on our game we’re a de­cent side, but we’re just a bit frag­ile right now.

“There’s no need to lie here. I think there are long-term scars with cer­tain play­ers at this club. And I think they’ve got to shake them off, be­cause they’ll never move on if they don’t.

“With cer­tain play­ers, there is a los­ing men­tal­ity. But I don’t think you can blame them all be­cause they haven’t been here long enough. Jutkiewicz was fan­tas­tic, so you can’t in­clude him. But some play­ers need to be stronger men­tally.

“For the first 25 min­utes, we were great value for money. But what seems to hap­pen is that any lit­tle set-back af­fects us big style. That’s what hap­pened to us here.”

Freed­man – whose side sit fifth­bot­tom of the Cham­pi­onship – is des­per­ate to cull his un­der-per­form­ing play­ers but will need to wait un­til the sum­mer.

“The board and I un­der­stand where we are right now,” he added. “I wouldn’t say there’s a lack of funds, but I wouldn’t say there are enough to im­prove the team dras­ti­cally. I have to work with what I’ve got, plus hope­fully get one or two on loan.”

Com­ing on the back of four straight de­feats – in­clud­ing a 7-1 ham­mer­ing at the hands of Read­ing – this had the air of a piv­otal game for Freed­man.

And when the teamsheets ar­rived at 2.30, it ap­peared chair­man Phil Gart­side had taken pre-emp­tive ac­tion – the Scot was bizarrely de­scribed as Bolton’s ‘act­ing’ man­ager. Thank­fully for Freed­man, it was sim­ply a mis­take by the print­ing depart­ment, who had ac­ci­den­tally used an 18month-old tem­plate.

To be fair, Bolton’s play­ers have of­ten looked like ‘act­ing’ foot­ballers this sea­son, but for 20 min­utes at least they looked the real deal.

Hav­ing seen An­drew Sur­man scuff wide from six yards and Grab­ban de­nied by a great stop from Alex Bog­dan, Bolton went up the other end and took the lead, Lee calmly lashing into the top corner from a tight an­gle.

Ten min­utes later it was two as Jutkiewicz – signed on loan from Mid­dles­brough in Jan­uary and a pow­er­ful, men­ac­ing pres­ence through­out – out­mus­cled Steve Cook be­fore lob­bing Lee Camp from 18 yards.

That, though, was when their prob­lems started. Al­most from the kick-off, Bournemouth worked the ball to Grab­ban, who un­leashed a rocket from 20 yards that seared into the top corner.

And as Bolton, sud­denly uncer­tain and seem­ingly shorn of flu­ency, fell into a malaise in the sec­ond half, Si­mon Fran­cis stooped to head a de­served lev­eller at the near post.

“It’s mixed emo­tions re­ally,” said Cher­ries boss Ed­die Howe, who saw his side dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion for long spells and al­most net a win­ner when Yann Ker­mor­gant’s flick was saved by Bog­dan.

“When you’re 2-0 down, you’re happy to get any­thing. But I thought we dom­i­nated the ma­jor­ity of the game and cre­ated more chances so I’m dis­ap­pointed not to win. But I’m happy with the pro­gres­sion. We took a cou­ple of heavy beat­ings ear­lier in the sea­son af­ter los­ing early goals. But we’ve learned from that.”

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