Bolton not up to scratch, says angry Knight

Bolton Wanderers 1 Wigan Athletic 2

The Reebok Stadium

Post-match interviews change as the season wears on. Early on, players tend to grab at any shred of optimism, promising to "bounce back" or "get the three points next week". By February, the season is starting to run out and the responses become harder and honest.

Zat Knight was "pissed off". Bolton had taken four points from Liverpool and Arsenal and then delivered supine performances against Norwich and now, disastrously, Wigan. Like a spider trying to climb out of a bath, Bolton so often appeared ready to escape the relegation zone before sliding back towards the plughole. Now they could hear the water beginning to run.

"This was a must-win for us," said the defender for whom the views in the dressing-room mirror were unforgiving. "If it were up to me, I'd like to play again tomorrow but, obviously, we have to wait two weeks and then it's Chelsea. We have to do something about it.

"I am unhappy myself. One or two individuals weren't up to scratch and as a team we did not gel. We played for 20 of the 90 minutes and that is not good enough. I am pissed off with this performance. As professionals I don't think we need to point fingers because we are just going to dig ourselves into a deeper and deeper hole.

"We need to look around us and reach the heights we know we can reach – where we were two weeks ago when we did brilliantly against a good Arsenal and a good Liverpool team.

"We know we can do it. We can rub shoulders with the best but let ourselves down against the teams around us. I believe one or two switched off in those games. People say we might have been looking a bit tired but that – beating Wigan – was a big carrot to go for."

Bolton's fixture list seems full of hard or desperately important encounters – Chelsea and Manchester City away, Queen's Park Rangers and Blackburn at home. Knight thought that if the first two were lost, they might be fighting the next couple at the very bottom of the Premier League.

"The situation is maybe worse than when we played Swansea," said Knight, recalling a match at the end of October which saw Bolton bottom of the table with six points from 10 matches. "But there are less games to go now and we are still right in it."

Match facts

Bolton: BOGDAN 5/10; STEINSSON 5; WHEATER 5; KNIGHT 6; RICKETTS 6; EAGLES 5; REO-COKER 6; M DAVIES 7; PETROV 4; NGOG 5; KDAVIES 5

Wigan: AL HABSI 7; FIGUEROA 6; CALDWELL 7; ALCARAZ 6; BOYCE 6; BEASEJOUR 6; McCARTHY 6; MOSES 8; McARTHUR 7; GOMEZ 5; DISANTO 5

Scorers: Bolton Wanderers M Davies 67 Wigan Athletic Caldwell 43, McArthur 76.

Substitutes: Bolton Miyaichi 6 (Petrov, h-t), Tuncay 6 (Eagles, 58), Klasnic 5 (K Davies, 64). Wigan Rodallega (Gomez, 75), Jones (Di Santo, 90). Booked: Bolton Reo-Coker, K Davies, Steinsson. Wigan Di Santo, McCarthy.

Man of the match Moses. Match rating 6/10.

Possession: Bolton 45% Wigan 55%.

Attempts on target: Bolton 8 Wigan 6.

Referee H Webb (South Yorkshire) Attendance 23,450.

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