Manager relishing new challenge following confirmation of his appointment at BL6
Following his first press conference as the new manager of Bolton Wanderers, Neil Lennon expressed his delight at his return to management following his appointment earlier this week.
The former Celtic boss led the side to three Scottish League titles in four years during his time in Glasgow before leaving the club back in May, citing the need for a new challenge as one of the reasons behind his departure.
And speaking to the press for the first time since his appointment at BL6, Lennon revealed that as soon as he had spoken to chairman Phil Gartside, he knew Macron Stadium was the place for him to continue his career.
“I’m thrilled to be here”, said Lennon. “Walking out on the training ground was a great feeling, just to be back in football again. I think I’m at a very good club. The facilities here are second to none and the stadium is fantastic, so now I just need to get the first team going.
“Once I had spoken to Phil my mind was made up. It was just a question of me trying to convince Phil and Mr Davies that I was the man for the job. Thankfully that went well over the weekend and here we are.
“Bolton is a great club with a great tradition and history. My gut instinct said this could be a great job and a great opportunity. From what I’ve seen so far it has been terrific. I’ve been made to feel very, very welcome.”
The new Bolton boss continued: “The expectation level is huge because it is a big club with a big support. It is a very unpredictable, competitive league. We need to start putting a run of results together and show a bit more consistency. That is down to me and it is also down to the players as well.
“It is a massive challenge and that is what I was looking for. Things went really well at Celtic but I felt I had run my course there. I am indebted to the people there for the opportunity they gave me.
“I’ve had six months out of the game which I enjoyed but I was starting to get the itch again. Bolton have given me this opportunity and I’m very, very grateful for that.”
Having lifted trophies on virtually an annual basis since first linking up with Martin O’Neill at Leicester City in 1996, Lennon is no stranger to success.
And he believes his current crop of players is capable of climbing the table as he vowed to instil a winning mentality into the Bolton squad.
“I think we have good players here,” said the Northern Irishman. “The structure and infrastructure here is fantastic. It has got everything you need for Premier League football, never mind Championship football.
“I know a lot of the players because I had an eye on them myself from my time at Celtic so I am looking forward to working with them. It is just instilling a little bit more self-belief in them because at the minute with results being the way they are their confidence is slightly low.
“We need to instil that confidence, work hard on the training ground and be patient. You always need patience when you come into a new job. We have 35 games to go, that is a season in some countries, so we’ve got plenty of time to get things right.”
Lennon continued: “I want to put across my thoughts on the game and how I want us to play. It may take a bit of time to get the team playing how we want them to play but 35 games should be enough time.
“You never get the finished article anyway because you’re always looking to improve and progress.
“Our speciality at Celtic was our decent defensive record. We did quite well in Europe at times and Johan was certainly a huge part of that.
“He knows the game, he had a great career and he is a good buffer for me as assistant manager, as is Garry as my first team coach. We had success at Celtic and now we want to bring that here to Bolton.”