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Dougie Freedman calls for more from his players in relegation scrap

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Dougie Freedman has called on some of his players to take greater responsibility in what he admits is now a relegation dogfight in the Championship.

After an encouraging first half, Wanderers crumbled after Burnley took the lead through Sam Vokes’ 16th goal of the season.

The Whites have now taken just three out of 24 available points and defeat against their local rivals leaves them staring anxiously over their shoulder at the bottom three, with a daunting trip to Millwall on the horizon this weekend.

“They realise the position they are in right now and that it is going to be a dogfight,” said the Scot, whose side are winless in eight league games.

“We only lost one point because we didn’t deserve all three.

“But I do think this is going to be decided against the teams around us, not those at the top.

“You have to look at certain individuals and make sure they are in it together.

“I have given everyone a chance to play and some of those players can’t quite handle playing under certain pressures. You saw that in the last 10-15 minutes.

“Performances go from very good to mediocre, so we have to look at that.

“I would like to think they are together but have they got the quality at both ends? I don’t think we have right now.”

Many Wanderers fans are now calling for Freedman to be sacked 16 months into his tenure but the former Crystal Palace boss is determined to ride out the storm.

“I don’t have that fear – I don’t live my life that way,” he said when asked if he was worried about losing his job.

“My experience tells me I am a fighter, someone who wants a challenge and keeps going.

“People say football has a habit of kicking you in the teeth and it’s doing it to me right now.

“I understand where we are but I don’t fear it.”

Fans once again voiced their disapproval at the end of the game – albeit in slightly less dramatic fashion than after Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Bournemouth.

Freedman feels fans can have no complaint with his players’ endeavour on the night – only their execution at either end of the pitch.

“They can’t say my team isn’t giving it a go or lacking commitment, showing the wrong attitude. Small mistakes are costing us dearly right now,” he said.

“It was Burnley’s nous in the last 10-15 minutes that won them the game.

“If they are giving me their all then I can’t really sit here and complain, all I can say is that we have to score goals when we’re on top.

“I felt we had the right possession in the first half against a good side but then I have said that too many times.

“I can’t criticise the players and I would if everything wasn’t quite right.

“But 45 minutes isn’t quite enough and we need one or two people to step up and take more responsibility either for scoring a goal or making sure one doesn’t go in.”


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