First half performance my responsibility - Neil Lennon

Manager says the way he set his side out contributed to first half performance at Middlesbrough

Neil Lennon accepted responsibility for the way he set his side out during the defeat at Middlesbrough.

Bolton were well beaten at the Riverside Stadium, with the hosts netted three goals in a first which saw Lennon’s side line-up in a 3-5-2 formation.

And speaking after the game, the manager admitted that in hindsight he would have opted for a different tactical approach against one of the favourites for promotion this season.

“I have to hold my hands up,” Lennon said after the game. “I take full responsibility for the first half performance. I set the team out and selected the formation and it didn’t work.

“The players didn’t get to grips with what we wanted them to do very well and we let Middlesbrough dictate and dominate the game.

“The first goal we can stomach, because it’s a fantastic individual goal, but the second and third goals are disappointing. 

“Even with the responsibility of the taking the blame, we still expect the players to compete and press which we did well against Derby and Burton. We didn’t do that this afternoon.

“I have to apologise to the supporters for the first half performance because it wasn’t good enough.

“We lost Gary Madine this morning, who wasn’t quite right after a fitness test. Zach Clough had a bit of hip strain yesterday, so again, he wasn’t ready to start the game.

“We went with a back three and tried to flood the midfield to stop them from playing. That clearly didn’t work and Middlesbrough capitalised on that.

“Even with a full strength squad, it was always going to be difficult to come here. I’ve been encouraged by the start we’ve made, aside from one half of football this afternoon.

“We’ve got a game to look forward to on Tuesday night, and we have to focus on that now.”

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