Manager happy with opening day performance against Derby County
Neil Lennon says he couldn’t have asked for any from his players after an opening day stalemate against Derby County at Macron Stadium.
Bolton hit the woodwork a total of three times in the second half, with Gary Madine and Emile Heskey both coming close to breaking the deadlock.
But in the end there was to be no way through for the Trotters, who ended the game with ten men after Jay Spearing received a second yellow card for an apparent dive late on.
“It was a cracking game,” the manager said. “I thought we were fantastic, against one of the favourites for promotion. I thought we were unfortunate not to win it, having hit the bar three times.
“Prior to the game a lot of people had us down as cannon fodder, but the players turned in a fantastic performance.
“The intensity with which we played was pleasing and we got better as the game went on. The introduction of Emile gave us an extra presence up top and we found a bit of a second wind.
“We decided to sacrifice a bit of creativity and go for some legs in midfield with the likes of Pratley, Danns and Spearing. We were a lot more resolute and we got what we wanted.
“I'm delighted with the performance and for an opening game of the season I couldn’t have asked for much more.
“Prince has come in and only trained for one day - I thought he was superb and he will get better. Madine was also outstanding and was unlucky not to score.”
The manager also offered his thoughts on the referee’s decision to show a second yellow card to Spearing late on.
Lennon added: “I can understand the decision given where the referee was, but Jay had no reason to go down because he is in on his left foot.
“It looked like he just fell and he certainly wasn’t appealing for a penalty. I thought it was a little bit harsh.”
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