Football - Freedman defends Bolton players

Bolton boss Dougie Freedman refused to criticise his players despite a 3-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

PA Sport Report

A second-minute strike from Jamie Mackie, an Andy Reid goal five minutes after the break and a 65th minute Henri Lansbury header helped extend what is already the Reds best start to a Championship season since 1997.

Bolton's cause was not helped when Darren Pratley was sent off after collecting his second booking in the 53rd minute, but the Forest were already in control, as they cruised towards an emphatic win.

"In the second half, the sending off made it difficult for us - but was a sending off. It was always going to make it difficult for us, playing against a side who are probably one or two players away from being in the top two," Freedman said.

"Darren is a great guy, he is fully committed - and I ask that from my players, so I am not going to criticise.

"It is a strong crowd here and maybe the occasion got to him, but I have no complaints. It was a sending off, but that is not the kind of guy he is.

"We were 3-0 down after little more than an hour, but my players did not give in. That is not the kind of statement that is going to make headlines, I know - but it will make me feel a little bit better.

"This is Nottingham Forest's day and we will move on. Forest made a strong start and only gained confidence from that.

"We have to draw a line under this and not look too much into things. This just was not our day. Once we were 2-0 down and down to 10 men, it was always going to be difficult."

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