The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

WAS this re­ally Bolton? Or a pub team who’d nicked their kit? The men in white shirts gen­uinely were that bad.

Yes, Boro were blis­ter­ing. From the off, Karanka’s men looked de­ter­mined to show that the shot-shy side of last year was ban­ished to the past, swarm­ing for­ward, cre­at­ing chances and shoot­ing on sight. Though out­ra­geously prof­li­gate, this was a per­for­mance with pro­mo­tion writ­ten all over it.

But make no mis­take – Bolton were shock­ing. Len­non’s sys­tem didn’t suit, but good play­ers adapt to ad­ver­sity. The Trot­ters didn’t, mak­ing the same mis­takes over and over again. No sys­tem in the world makes you pass to the op­po­si­tion.

When the book­ies tipped Bolton to strug­gle, it seemed harsh. Af­ter this per­for­mance, who’d bet against it?

One bad day at the of­fice won’t bring a busi­ness to its knees. But with a re­duced bud­get, a 38-year-old up front and a por­ous de­fence, it could be long sea­son.

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