Bolton Wanderers have a stronger mentality now, says Dougie Freedman
DOUGIE Freedman was delighted to see his Wanderers team grind out three points at Huddersfield and prove his point that they are adapting to the Championship.
The Whites boss spoke in the build-up how he had been encouraged by recent displays in what is now a run of just one defeat in 10 league games.
And that was again evident at the John Smith’s Stadium where they were not at their best but dug in and kept their belief right up until Joe Mason volleyed home the winner in added time.
Not only did they extend their recent good run but they are now five games unbeaten on the road and have not lost away for more than two months.
Slowly but surely, Freedman believes the tide is turning for his team.
He said: “That result illustrates how far we’ve come.
“We showed great skill in defending, we were resolute and resistant and they all worked very hard.
“We didn’t play fantastically well today so huge credit has to be given to the lads.
“The mentality is a lot different to how it was our or five months ago when we would have possibly been beaten.
“Because of the defensive display, it gave us a chance because we have a certain goal threat up top I terms of making and creating chances and we have taken one.
“I felt we had the best of the chances although they had a lot of crosses and long distance shots, we had the better chances.
“Overall, I am very pleased for the group of players because it shows how far they have come.
“They have the right spirit and a never-say-die attitude.
“The way we performed was excellent “We asked the group to do things differently today to make sure the rotation worked in midfield.
“It was hard and hats off to Huddersfield, they played very well on the day.
“But we stuck at it and had the attitude we would get on top. As we got into the last 15 minutes, I thought we started to look more of a goal threat and that’s what happened. It wasn’t happening earlier in the season, whether it be the personnel or individual performances.
“We have that now as we have showed over the last dozen games where we refuse to go down easily. I’ll admit we didn’t play our best but I think the fans will be proud of what they have seen.”
Freedman acknowledged the plaudits will go Mason’s way after his stunning winner but feels the foundations for victory were built by goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and his defensive unit.
He added: “I felt Adam Bogdan and the two guys at the back were terrific.
“The two central defenders and the goalkeeper are performing at a real high standard at the moment.
“I do bite my tongue sometimes that it has taken this long but in the Championship you have to play a certain way.
“The teams at the top will have got wins when they haven’t played well and that’s something we are starting to do.
“You have to come sometimes and grind it out at some point.
“You are not always going to perform well.
“We were performing well earlier in the season and not getting the results.
“I don’t want to be like that – I want to be the opposition manager coming away with wins for the fans.
“With that confidence grows and you will perform. When you are keeping clean sheets it gives forward like young Joe Mason confidence.
Centre-forwards want their names on the back pages – they don’t want to be 4-1 and they get a goal, they want it to be 0-0 and they can win it and that’s what Joe did.”