Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman hails fighting spirit after FA Cup exit
IT may not have been the resounding result the fans were looking for – but Dougie Freedman found solace in FA Cup defeat against Cardiff City.
Familiar problems were evident – the lack of a finisher, Wanderers’ propensity to give their opposition a head start – but the Scot was content that last weekend’s debacle at Reading had been consigned to history.
“We’re not trying to forget about Reading, far from it, but I asked the players to put their bodies on the line for me, and I think I got that,” he said.
The Cardiff performance was far from faultless, indeed it told a tale of just one shot on target from a Wanderers player.
In the end, Andy Lonergan’s error just after half time, finished by Fraizer Campbell, proved the difference maker.
But the Whites boss was not about to make a scapegoat of his recently-installed number one.
“Andy Lonergan has been fantastic for us since he came into the team, so there won’t be blame from me,” he said. “He didn’t have a lot to do today and that tells you how well we played.
“He made an error but if you put yourself between those sticks they are the kind of things you have to take on the chin. He’s a very experienced player so he knows exactly where he stands with me.”
After naming Craig Davies in his starting line-up for the first time since August, Freedman was happy with what he got from the Wales international.
“He put his body on the line, which I was very proud of,” he said. “That’s exactly what I asked of the players before the game.
“There wasn’t a lot in it. And when you are down in the dumps this is what happens to you.
“You have to stand up and be strong for your club. I think the players did that.”
And Freedman also put fans’ mind at rest with Mark Davies’ exclusion from the squad against Cardiff.
“He was rested,” he said. “At this stage after he came back from injury – and there is no problem with his knee – but I felt that three games in a week was a bit much.
“It was a decision made by me, the medical staff and Mark to completely rest it, not even sit on the bench.”