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Bolton Wanderers Players To Blame, Not Lennon

Bolton's players have to take responsibility for the mess we find ourselves in

Neil Lennon has come out and blamed his players for the club's dire run of form
Neil Lennon has come out and blamed his players for the club's dire run of form
Clint Hughes/Getty Images

These days it seems that as soon as a side begins to struggle, the manager is immediately given the chop. So with Bolton Wanderers' form having been consistently poor this season, it's come as no surprise to anyone that the calls for Neil Lennon's head are resonating.

The question is, should the manager always be held accountable for his players being incapable of getting results?

In the aftermath of Bolton Wanderers' latest defeat in a season full of defeats, Neil Lennon admitted what I believe has been our biggest problem since relegation from the Premier League, and possibly even in the last 18 months at the top level. Speaking after the game Lennon said:

"I'm looking at some senior players when we go a goal down to manage the team and they don't. And that's been the problem at the club for the last three years.

"They are the ones that have to cross the white line and make a difference, and some of them are coming up short."

Lennon is absolutely right with these comments, the players are the ones that go out on the pitch and there's only so much that a manager can do. The blame for three consecutive years of absolutely dire football ultimately has to be pinned on the players. I firmly believe that no manager would be able to come in and suddenly transform this Bolton side given the players at their disposal.

One of the biggest problems we have is the lack of a real captain who can motivate their team-mates when things aren't going our way. Last year we had Jay Spearing, who proved he's not the leader we hoped he'd be, and now we have Darren Pratley, whose total lack of leadership and motivational skills makes Spearing look like Roy Keane.

Looking back at the choice of Pratley as captain, it probably took most Wanderers fans by surprise. But when you look around the team Lennon had very few options available to him, with perhaps the exception of David Wheater - who has probably been our only consistently good performer this season.

The general lack of leadership is unsurprisingly rubbing off on the rest of the team, who are low on confidence, lack motivation, and are seemingly incapable of digging themselves out of the mess they've got themselves into.

However, there have been several matches this season where we've missed glorious chances only to throw it away with defensive howlers at the other end. The Reading match on Saturday typified exactly that: we missed a few chances then Prince goes and gifts them a goal with a schoolboy error. It's simply not good enough - and it seems difficult to blame Lennon when our forwards can't put chances away and our defenders can't do the basics of defending.

If only Madine had managed to put away a series of opportunities he's had in several games, if Feeney had put away a couple of easy chances, and if we'd taken our chances on Saturday then we're looking at another nine to twelve points on the total we currently have. Those points alone would not only push us into the safety of mid-table, but also give us confidence to go on a run.

Wanderers now have two home games on the trot starting with Brentford in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Monday night, then Cardiff City at home the following Saturday. If we fail to win either of those then we will have gone exactly three months without a win when we face Hull City away.