DOUGIE Freedman will not complain about the boos as he tries to rid Wanderers of their relegation hangover.
There was no festive spirit left at the Reebok by full-time yesterday as the players were jeered off the pitch after 1-0 home defeat against Sheffield Wednesday, courtesy of Mamady Sidibe’s first-half header.
It left Freedman’s side seven points off the relegation zone, and eight from the play-offs heading into the final game of the calendar year against Birmingham City on Saturday.
But while the manager is working hard to change expectations and attitudes on and off the pitch, he refused to condemn those who stayed behind to vent their anger at the full time whistle.
“I’m a football fan as well and I can understand it,” he said. “I have always said at the end of the match, if you want to show your frustrations, then fine.
“All I would ask is that they get behind the team as best they can and I think they did that. I’ve not a single problem with it.
“I think they are going through a transition right now, same as the players, whereas they have had Premiership football and come down to this division expecting to shoot straight back up and it hasn’t happened. It is a case of sticking together and keep on going.”
Freedman insists a charge for the play-offs is still possible and was encouraged by a hard-working if ultimately fruitless second-half performance against the Owls.
“There are still enough games but the mentality of the players has got to change,” he said. “They have got to understand that this is not an easy division.
“Just because we played Premiership football last year, this is tough, and that is the message we have got to get across.
“That is not difficult – I just have to keep hammering it day in, day out in training. And in our second half display I thought there was a lot of effort and energy to try and get that equaliser.
“But we have got to understand that teams are not just going to sit back and defend. They are going to come at you.
“You cannot expect to turn up and win games because you have had some Premiership experience. You have to do the small things correctly.
“I just thought we didn’t put enough pressure on them in the first half and allowed them to put too much on our defence. And we could answer the questions being asked.”