Defeat a wake-up call for nervy Whites, says Bolton Wanderers defender Kevin McNaughton

MORTIFIED Defender Kevin McNaughton

MORTIFIED Defender Kevin McNaughton

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

KEVIN McNaughton hopes Saturday’s demoralising defeat at Watford proves to be a wake-up call for Wanderers.

The Scottish defender did not mince his words after a 3-0 defeat at Vicarage Road – the club’s heaviest opening day reverse in 11 years.

While the on-loan Cardiff City defender did not want to mask over the poor performance, he trusts it will provoke the right reaction in the dressing room heading into a busy week of action in league and cup.

Early goals from Matej Vydra and Troy Deeney gave the Hornets an early cushion, eventually improved by Fernando Forestieri 10 minutes from time.

The defeat was the worst on the opening day of the season since a 4-0 drubbing against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2003.

McNaughton – making his second debut for the club – was mortified by the first-half display in particular.

“We looked nervy, there was a couple of mistakes and it seemed to be contagious. It’s not good enough,” he said.

“They were sloppy goals. That half was probably the worst since I’ve been here at the club.

“We came in at half time and didn’t know what was going on. We were so disappointed.

“You can only hope it’s a kick up the backside. If you’re going to spin it, hopefully it has the opposite effect and wakes us up a little bit to see what the task is at hand. It’s not going to be easy in this league.”

More than 1,200 Wanderers fans made the 400-mile round trip to Hertfordshire, and McNaughton can understand the frustration that was clearly on view.

“I think we owe it to them to put that right straight away,” he said. “We’ll watch the videos and see where it went wrong but I think we all know that is just not good enough.

“They were simple goals. As a defender I don’t want to be giving goals up like that.”

If Watford showed off their promotion credentials, it looks like being a long, hard season ahead for Wanderers.

McNaughton reckons the money being spent around the division this summer has made the task of getting into the top six more difficult than ever.

“It’s a tough year this year,” he said. “Cardiff and Norwich are good Championship teams and it probably won’t take them as long to adapt.

“It’s always a tough league. It’s the stepping stone to the Premier League so you can understand why clubs spend so much money to get there.

“It’s usually the best squad that gets promotion but teams like us can maybe take something from what Burnley did last year with not as big a group of players. They got the job done.”

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