Doing okay isn't good enough - Freedman
HIS side may be three games unbeaten and finally showing signs of life in the Championship table but Dougie Freedman wants much, much more from Wanderers as they prepare to face Hull City this afternoon.
Progress has been slow so far for the Whites boss, whose success in stabilising a shaky defence is still being undermined by a propensity to throw away winning positions and a failure to kill teams off.
That was the case at Pride Park on Tuesday night, and the disappointment of another blown lead was still etched on Freedman’s face three days later as he spoke to The Bolton News at the club’s Euxton training ground.
Frustration is certainly being felt among the fans as any lasting vestiges of hope for a late play-off push grow slimmer with each passing game.
But it is most certainly a similar feeling for Freedman, who knows his team have to step up a level if they are to keep their unbeaten run going against one of the Championship’s most resilient outfits in Steve Bruce’s Tigers.
“We are very hard to beat, there is a good structure to us but you have got to keep building on what you have got and that was the frustrating thing for me at Derby because we didn’t build on what we had done in the last two games,” he said.
“The lads are doing okay, but doing okay is just not good enough. We need to make sure we are taking the opportunity to win matches because I feel we are a good side. It’s so, so close.
“People tell me we haven’t been beaten in three matches but I’m not really interested. I wanted to win all three of those matches.”
Second-placed Hull lie second, a massive 23 points ahead of Wanderers in 16th at start of play.
The Championship table has made a galling sight for Whites fans all season and there is no shortage of people to highlight that improvement since Freedman took over the reins from Owen Coyle in October has not always been tangible in terms of points and league position.
The manager admits that while his rebuilding job continues, that frustration may have to be something he takes on the chin.
“You can never get the timing right in football,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders. “Everyone wants success tomorrow morning and that is the way it goes.
“You have to be realistic in this league. Only one team is going to win the title, and you have got to take into account what has happened to the club, with the change in managers.
“I see an improvement, and I know what we are trying to do. But I put myself under more pressure than anyone and it isn’t happening fast enough for me either.
“But it will come. I see a steeliness about us, a resilience, there are one or two fresh faces in the squad and they will ensure we keep pushing on.”
Freedman has picked out the likes of Ahmed Elmohamady and Robbie Brady as key threats from wide areas in Hull set-up.
Only Watford can better the Tigers’ points tally (27) on their travels but the Wanderers boss has cooked up a game plan he believes could consign Steve Bruce’s side to a sixth defeat away from the KC.
“Hull are a very counter-attacking team who don’t play out from the back,” he said. “It isn’t attractive to watch them but they are very resilient in what they do.
“They get a lot of goals from their crosses and their set pieces, so we need to make sure we are prepared for that and understand it.
“But they have also got their weaknesses and that’s where we have to make sure we go for them a little bit.”
Bruce added to his squad this week with the loan capture of George Boyd from Peterborough United, and Freedman has been impressed with the work done in the transfer market by his opposite number.
“Boyd is a great signing for them, and the right type in terms of their formation,” he said.
“They have added very well. They bought a kid from Germany (Nick Proschwitz) for a few quid over the summer and he isn’t bad at all.
“They have done what we are trying to do - build a squad but they have been down here a couple of years and it won’t happen overnight.
“They have spent money on players like (Robbie) Brady but I think they have spent it very wisely.”