‘Heartbreaking’: Bolton’s Lennon counts the cost of another late defensive slip

Neil Lennon has called the way his side allowed Norwich City to find an injury-time winner in the 2-1 defeat at the Macron Stadium on Saturday as ‘heartbreaking’.

Wanderers conceded in stoppage time for the seventh time since late January to throw away a hard-fought point against second-placed Canaries.

Adam Le Fondre had cancelled out Graham Dorrans’ opener before Lennon’s former Celtic striker Gary Hooper struck late on.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s home clash with Charlton Athletic, Lennon lamented the ‘criminal’ defending which allowed the draw to slip through his side’s fingers.

“We shouldn’t leaving a striker of Gary Hooper’s quality in space at any time, let alone in the last few seconds of a game,” said the Northern Irishman.

“It’s a nothing attack and unbelievably we’ve switched off again. It’s criminal. To concede a goal of that lack of quality so late in the game is heartbreaking.

“I thought we were the better team in the second half and I didn’t feel in any danger at all, but with our track record you’re perhaps always concerned.”

Lennon was at a loss to explain why the trend was continuing despite having highlighted the issue to his players on numerous occasions.

He hinted that he will not be afraid to take drastic action during the off-season as he attempts to remedy the situation.

“I thought we’d matched the best team in the league here, but this is happening far too often,” he added. “It seems like I’m having this conversation every two weeks.

“We could be on 58 points or so by now. I don’t know what I can do as a manager unless I board the goal up. It’s just sloppy.

“I ask for answers but I don’t get them because they can’t look me in the eye.That’s too much of a familiar story for my liking and I need to address that problem.

“If it means changing the personnel then so be it.”

Despite more last-minute despair, the loss to promotion-chasing Norwich was just Bolton’s second Championship defeat at the Macron since Lennon took over.

Wanderers’ attention now turns to another home clash with Charlton Athletic on Tuesday night, as two mid-table clubs come together.

Lennon’s assistant manager and former Celtic teammate Johan Mjallby is aiming for a strong finish to make up for the points that the Trotters have thrown away late on in games.

“We’ve been proud of our home record and it’s important to try to keep it going,” said the former Sweden captain. “It was a shame to lose at the weekend.

“In hindsight, we could be a lot happier if we hadn’t conceded the late goals that we have. We’re throwing away points left, right and centre in injury-time and it’s been killing us.

“We really want to finish the season strongly because we’ve been throwing away points so we want to give something back to the supporters.

“We want a really strong Bolton for next season, which will probably be judged more than we have been this season because obviously we’ve inherited this squad.

“Neil and I are both used to winning and we need to start installing the winning mentality at this club as well. It’s a great challenge for us at a great club and we’re really enjoying being here.”

Main image courtesy of BWFC via YouTube, with thanks.

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