Blame me: Dougie Freedman tells his struggling Bolton players to ‘stand up and be counted’ against Millwall

Bolton manager Dougie Freedman insists he isn’t feeling the pressure, as his side fight falling further towards the relegation zone.

Wanderers are without a win in eight Championship matches, and pressure is mounting on the Bolton boss.

Sections of the home support at the Reebok have begun regularly booing the team off in recent matches.

Freedman however is adamant that he will not be affected by the pressure. Freedman said: “I don’t run my life that way and I don’t run my football life that way.  

“Pressure is something that I call a challenge and I call being successful taking a challenge on.”

Many fans are calling for Freedman’s head after a run of eight Championship games without a win which has left them firmly in the relegation scrap.

While accepting the blame for recent results the manager believes that his plans will come good in the end.

“You’re always learning as a football manager – it is a bit like life,” Freedman said.

“I’ve got no God-given right that I should be successful but just by standing up and being counted you’re successful – that’s the way I view it.

“I know every football fan wants to win every week, I understand that. But there is a process of getting there.

“Of course I take the blame, I get that one, but there is a plan there.”

Hopes were high heading into this campaign, after narrowly missing out on the play-offs last term.

Things haven’t quite gone to plan and Freedman’s side currently sit 19th in the table.

The gaffer is defiant in the face of adversity though. He said: “We have got to do a bit of planning and it’s going to be a bumpy road to try and put the plan in place.

“The first year was getting to know the players and trying to get some players to play a certain way that suited the Championship.

“It’s easy in theory to say we should have done this and should have done that we need to look at the simple facts of what we can do and what we can’t do.

“Maybe the loans market, maybe we should try to buy them instead of, you know try and buy Kevin McNaughton instead of loan him.

“I think the football club is at a stage where we all know where we are.”

Bolton’s woes have not been restricted to their performances on the pitch neither.

Wanderers announced in the New Year that the club’s debt had risen to £163.8million.

That has tied the manager’s hands in the transfer market in terms of making permanent signings and competing with other clubs on wages for loan players.

Freedman says that he has had to change his style and is confident he will be ablget Bolton through this troubled time.

“I want to try and play in a certain style and a certain way,” the Scot said.

“One or two players can’t quite play at the style so I’ve had to ship them out, so I’ve had to alter my style along the way.

“Let’s not hide the fact that I’m responsible for the results, I will always take that.

“I think you’ve got to look at the circumstances we find ourselves in and then get behind the players and get over a very tricky period.”

Tuesday’s narrow defeat to rivals Burnley was another game where Bolton played well and got nothing from it.

Defeat at Millwall on Saturday would see Bolton overtaken by Ian Holloway’s side and sink further into the relegation mire.

Freedman believes this is the sort of game that will decide their fate this season and has challenged his players to turn up and perform.

“These matches are games that are very important for the football club and very important for the players to stand up and be counted at Millwall,” Freedman told his Thursday press conference.

“I said after the game the match against Burnley wouldn’t decide where we are it’s the teams round about us – Millwall are around about us at the bottom of the table.

“It’s very important there’s no doubt about it.”

If Bolton come unstuck they will find themselves just one place above the relegation zone which makes the Millwall clash all the more pivotal for Bolton and Freedman. 

“It’s a big game because of where we are in the league,” he said.

“We need to make sure we compete – we need to make sure we stand up for ourselves.

“Make sure we are very, very difficult to beat and make sure it’s a game we don’t lose.”

Andre Moritz could feature for the Trotters, after his injury at Burnley was not as bad as first feared.

Bolton’s top scorer, Jermaine Beckford will miss just miss out on the encounter, but is expected to return for their clash against Watford next weekend.

Image courtesy of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, via YouTube, with thanks.

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