Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Blame Me for Trotters Being off Key - Lennon; VIEW FROM THE RIVAL CAMP

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Blame Me for Trotters Being off Key - Lennon; VIEW FROM THE RIVAL CAMP

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathon Taylor Sports writer jonathon.taylor@eveninggazette.co.uk

BOLTON boss Neil Lennon took "full responsibility" for his team's first-half mauling against Boro after his decision to play 3-5-2 dramatically backfired.

Lennon raised a few eyebrows with his team selection at the Riverside, opting to play three at the back against one of the Championship's widely-tipped sides for promotion Diego Fabbrini set the hosts on their way with a scintillating 25-yard drive on seven minutes, before Kike notched a first-half brace to leave it 3-0 at the break.

Bolton rallied after half-time and changed formation, but it was too late as Aitor Karanka's side cruised to victory in their first home match at the Riverside this season.

After the game, Lennon held his hands up and admitted he got his team selection wrong - and it played right into Boro's hands.

"I take full responsibility for the first half, I set the team up and (picked) the formation, and it didn't work," the former Celtic chief said.

"The players obviously didn't get to grips with it very well and we let Middlesbrough dictate and dominate the game.

"The first goal you can stomach as it's a great individual goal but the second and third are disappointing.

"Even with the responsibility I take, I still expected the players to compete and press which they've done in the previous three games, but it's a learning experience for me.

"I apologise to the supporters for the first half.

"We lost Gary Madine (on Saturday) morning and Zach Clough came off with a hip strain (on Friday), so I knew he was doubtful. "That left me with (Emile) Heskey and I didn't want leave him up front on his own against a team with Boro's quality, because it would be some shift for a guy his age.

"I went with the back three and there was a lack of understanding obviously and Middlesbrough fully capitalised on that. …

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