Getting the balance right in ‘less important’ Capital One Cup games – as master tactician Louis van Gaal found out last night in Manchester United’s 4-0 drubbing – is no easy task.
Over to Dougie Freedman to take us through it then. The Scot masterminded a 3-2 away win after extra time at Crewe Alexandra to put Bolton Wanderers into the third round of the competition, a useful building block for the Championship strugglers.
Bolton currently sit third from bottom in the second division, having failed to win in four games, but there was never any thought in Freedman’s head about sacrificing the country’s second Cup competition for other ambitions or aims.
“We made sure that we started with one or two experienced players in the team and in the end that is what has won us the game,” Freedman told Bolton’s website.
“In both cup ties I’ve introduced one or two younger players which has made it a very level playing field, but I felt we deserved to win the game and that’s the key to it.
“I take cup competitions very seriously and the lads understood that and played very well, but Crewe gave us a good game tonight and made sure that we had to work for it.”
Most pleasing for Freedman was the way his side reacted in an unfamiliar environment, which he believes will stand them in good stead at the weekend when they travel to Leeds United’s Elland Road cauldron.
“Our away form last season was very good and we need to make sure that we get back to that, starting with Leeds this weekend,” he said of Saturday’s fixture, which takes on added importance given Leeds are one place above Bolton with just one win from four.
“We had a fantastic win at Leeds last season. We need to go there and make sure that we start the game positively.”
Bolton will find out their third round Capital One Cup opponents on Wednesday evening as they aim for a first League Cup final since 2004.
Main image courtesy of Bolton Wanderers FC via YouTube, with thanks.