Lucky draw at Brighton was watershed for Dougie's Wanderers
DOUGIE Freedman looks back on Wanderers’ fortuitous draw at Brighton in November with mixed emotions.
On the one hand, he saw a measure of disorganisation he did not like, prompting him to dish out an uncharacteristic level of criticism after the game.
Had it not been for Adam Bogdan’s penalty save, a huge slice of fortune and a late, late equaliser out of the blue from David Ngog, then the Whites would most likely have been given a hiding at the Amex Stadium. and Freedman ensured his players knew it.
But the Glaswegian reckons he learned a lot about his side over the course of that 90 minutes, which helped shape his plan for the months to come.
“I think it’s safe to say that the performance has since been addressed,” he said with a smirk. “I told the lads in no uncertain terms we had to perform better.
“We have addressed that and I don’t think we have seen too many Brighton performances. But it did teach me also we had certain players who kept going until the end.
“I started building a team a certain way that would be strong minded to the back of games.
“And it will continue that we don’t give games away. I won’t accept performances like that or the one at Blackpool, where we just chucked it in.”
Freedman warned people not to write off his side’s play-off chances several weeks ago.
“I might know what I’m talking about,” he chipped in.
But there is not a hint of “I told you so” about the Scot, who fully accepts his side have still got a huge task on their hands to rein in the gap on today’s opponents.
Victory over Blackburn has set a buzz around the town but Freedman has been careful to make sure that has not become a distraction to his players.
“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “But I don’t run the training ground with excitement – you’ve probably seen there’s a few miserable guys around the place. I know what is round the corner. There is a very important game against Brighton.
“If you start getting too cocky and make statements that you can’t fulfil, then there are certain people who will come and chop you down.”
The league table looks much rosier than it did at the start of February, when Wanderers were just a few points off the bottom three.
Freedman did not give the league position credence then, and he is keeping a similar lid on his emotions now.
“I manage my way and when people say ‘you’re near the bottom’ or ‘you’re near the top’ I just try and be honest with the fans,” he said.
“Yes, we’ve won a few games of football but it’s not a big deal to me.
“We have got a very strong group of players. One or two injuries have hurt us – Keith Andrews and Mark Davies who are both capable of chipping in with a goal – so you have got to be mindful of that.
“I am looking to go into the loan market, I won’t hide it. And I am not one to shy away from questions that go directly to the fans.
“I don’t want to dampen their expectations or indeed lighten them up. I’m just here to say where we are and what we are trying to do.
“I believe in what I can do.”
Freedman is not above asking for the fans’ help, however, and after praising the support his side have been given in recent weeks, the Whites boss admits they too have a big role to play in the last 10 games.
“I go back to the Peterborough game, I felt the fans sensed we needed to keep the energy levels up,” he said.
“They showed vocal energy to keep us going.
“The players enjoy that. There was great support at Barnsley and against Blackburn the other night.
“It is crucial we all support each other. I spread that information at the training ground that we must all get behind each other.
“If you have any affection for the club the people on the outside will say good things and see good things. That’s what it is all about.
“This pointing the finger, which happened in and out of the club, and at the training ground, has got to stop.
“It is starting to stop and that is what I am sensing.”