Freedman beats the boos with inspired substitutions
DOUGIE Freedman hailed super subs Craig Davies and David Ngog for their starring roles in Saturday’s thrilling derby victory over Burnley.
The two substitutes netted to help Wanderers come from behind to claim three vital points at the Reebok – their first league win of 2013.
Their impact was felt all the more profoundly because Freedman’s decision to bring the pair into the action after 58 minutes, for Marvin Sordell and Steve de Ridder, had been met with a chorus of jeers from the home fans.
But Freedman vowed to stick by his beliefs.
“In this game you’ve got to make decisions, sometimes brave decisions,” he said. “If it goes against you then you can’t shy away from that.
“I understand the fans – because I’m a football fan myself – they want their favourite player to stay on the pitch.
“But I had studied the game, I had studied Burnley, and I knew their tempo decreases as the game goes on. And I felt we needed to change the dynamics of how we played in the last half hour.
“People will talk about Craig Davies and he was great for us up top when he came on but, to me, David Ngog was the key to it.
“He drifted around in midfield and opened the game up a little bit.
“I’m not going to shy away from decision making. Sometimes I’ll get it wrong, but I’ll always do it for the best of the football club.”
Freedman said after the game that he had no choice but to withdraw Belgian winger De Ridder just under an hour into his full debut for the club.
The on-loan Southampton winger drew praise for his industrious performance on the right wing but the Whites boss said his lack of match action meant he would not have lasted the course.
“I had to take him off, he hadn’t played any football,” Freedman said. “Anyone who has shouted to the back of my head to keep him on, I wanted to keep him on, but he’s not played enough games.
“I know on 60 minutes he’ll tire. And the medical people tell me, if I keep him on longer, then we’ll have a hamstring or a tear.”
Nottingham Forest are next up, where Freedman will turn his attention to eliminating a statistic that hangs heavily around Wanderers’ necks – the lack of back-to-back wins in the league since March last year.
“The next step is getting back in work Monday morning, just the same as always,” he said.
“Consistency has been there in the performances but that result might just lift a little of the psychological aspect, especially at home.
“We’ve got to build on that success, but most importantly keep performing the way we have been.”