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Peter Reid & John McGinlay Call For The Defenders To Get Stuck In

“I can’t remember the last time they got a clean sheet. “Sometimes, as a manager when your team is struggling, you try and go back to basics. You go ‘listen, we’re not going to concede today, we’re going to keep it tight – we might nick one with a corner, a dead ball, a bit of magic. We’ll win the game, and that brings confidence"

Michael Steele - Getty Images

Peter Reid, you mean to tell me that you don't want to see a Bolton Wanderers defender try to nutmeg an opposition man inside Bolton's box? No little flicks either? Can I at least have a stepover or four? Well, Peter Reid, I think you and John McGinlay, with nearly 15 years of Bolton Wanderers experience between the two of you, have a point.

It's the silly things that have Bolton losing. Attackers tripping over the feet of the defenders in the box and rash sliding challenged have led to four penalties in four consecutive games. Former Bolton players Reid & McGinlay, in separate Bolton News articles, think the problems may be eradicated with a bit of back-to-basics defending.

Writing in his BN article, McGinlay said:

I can understand how frustrated Owen Coyle must be feeling because I think performances have been perfectly fine, in the main, up until the point we concede a goal. Then it all comes toppling down.

Now this isn't just a cheap pop at the back four, even though there are obviously areas that need to be improved there.

Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture when you concede a goal. It isn't just about who let a cross come in, but where the ball came from, or who lost their runner.

Super John continued, going on about how the lads (and fans) should not be looking at the individuals, but rather at the team as a whole:

You can point fingers all you want, or target individuals at the back and say they are not good enough, but unless they find a way to forge a unit then the problems are going to continue.

Everyone has got a theory on where it is going wrong - pick him, or play that formation - and every little mistake can be dissected any way you want.

People also think it can be ironed out on the training ground, but you can practice all you want at Euxton and it'll never prepare you for coming up against an opponent in the heat of battle.

A game situation is unpredictable. When you go on to the training ground, you know what is coming up. You know the people you are playing against, and regardless of how hard you train, no-one wants to give 100 per cent because they don't want to get injured and miss the game Saturday. That's just a fact of life.

Elsewhere, in an interview with talkSPORT, former Bolton midfielder Peter Reid added:

"Sometimes, as a manager when your team is struggling, you try and go back to basics. You go ‘listen, we're not going to concede today, we're going to keep it tight - we might nick one with a corner, a dead ball, a bit of magic. We'll win the game, and that brings confidence'.

"You know you are going to have to score loads to win every game if you don't keep clean sheets.

"Who am I to give advice? But that's what I'd do. Dig results out and try and get some confidence because at that level, they have got some decent players."