Coyle slams players' effort after Pompey humiliation
OWEN Coyle laid into his side after they slumped to an embarrassing 3-0 friendly defeat at Portsmouh.
The Wanderers boss kept his players in the dressing room much longer than usual to read the riot act after a limp defeat that has raised considerable concern on the terraces some 13 days before the season kicks-off against Burnley.
More than 100 fans had made the 500-mile round trip to Fratton Park for what looked on paper like a routine warm-up exercise for the Championship opener.
Asked whether his team had under-estimated their opponents, who fielded just two contracted players and had just seven youth teamers listed on their official programme, the Scot didn't hold back with his response.
“It was an easy point for me to make because when you see how hungry Portsmouth's players were, for contracts and everything else, then I think that should be a minimum requirement,” he told The Bolton News .
“I have stressed to those players when they cross the white line that we know what quality they have, but whether it's pre-season or not, they have got to start stepping it up.
“We didn't do ourselves justice. We had great support who had travelled long and far, and at great expense to come down and support the lads and I think they were due better than what they got.
“The players have got to be mindful of that. Each and every time they go out there they have to be at their maximum. You won't play well every game but the minimum requirement is that they couldn't have done any more in terms of effort.
“I have let that be known without mincing my words.”
Coyle was disappointed with his side's defending for all three goals.
“They were three soft ones,” he said. “One from an attacking error at the other end where we should have gone in front, but we were also too fragile on the counter attack.
“The second was a wonder goal from Liam Lawrence but the build up could have been easily avoided. David (Ngog) gave cheap possession away on the half way line and Mark Davies gave a cheap foul away. I can iron that one out.
“And the third one was a straight ball across the box. We have to make sure that anything we give up defensively is earned and not just because people sling a ball into the penalty area.”
But the Wanderers boss admits he was happy that such a sub-standard display had come before the season starts, in order to give him time to rectify the mistakes that were made.
“We knew there would be intensity and we knew the fans would come out in numbers, and despite the result, it will serve us well in the course of the season,” he said.
“I think Adam Bogdan had one save to make and yet we had numerous opportunities. Sometimes, the scoreline can give a false impression of the game.
“But the bottom line is that we've lost a game we didn't want to and I've let it be known in no uncertain terms that some of my players dropped below the standard that is expected of them.
“Yes, we trained them hard yesterday and they travelled five hours on a coach but it's no excuse. You have got to be ready.”