Megson backs Elmander as Swede breaks drought

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The Independent Football

Bolton manager Gary Megson hopes the club's record signing Johan Elmander can build on his first goal for nine months to prove his critics wrong. The Sweden international scored the third in Wanderers' 3-1 extra time win over West Ham at the Reebok Stadium on Tuesday night.

Herita Ilunga's first goal for West Ham on the hour put the visitors ahead but Kevin Davies' header equalised five minutes from the end of normal time and after Gary Cahill's superb 25-yard strike early in the additional period Elmander slid in with the third late on. That was his first club goal in any competition since December 13 – a run of 22 matches.

"Johan was so desperate to score he was snatching at it," said Megson. "If he takes his time, with the quality he has, I'm sure he will finish more but that [goal] will do him the world of good. Everyone is concerned about his lack of goals, none more so than Johan. He wants to do well and if his personality was different and he thought 'Stuff it, I can't be bothered', he probably would have scored before now.

"But because he is so determined to score he is not relaxed. I really do hope that goal relaxes him a bit because the arrival of Ivan Klasnic [on loan from Nantes] will put both him and Kevin Davies under pressure. But I'm not ready to give up on Johan Elmander and no-one at the club is either."

Missing chances is something which is concerning West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola. His side created plenty against Bolton but even the introduction of England striker Carlton Cole did not help. "With the way things were going on the pitch I was not expecting that. I was waiting for the second goal to come at any moment – it was very disappointing," he said.