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Freedman: I had the belief

Dougie Freedman insisted after the 2-1 win at Birmingham that he never lost belief in his Bolton players, while Lee Clark blamed individual errors for the defeat.

Last Updated: 05/10/13 at 16:03 Post Comment

Dougie Freedman (left): Watched his side win

Dougie Freedman (left): Watched his side win

The Trotters were enduring their worst start to a league season in 111 years having failed to win any of their opening 10 matches, but it was 11th time lucky at St Andrew's thanks to a narrow 2-1 victory over Birmingham.

Manager Freedman conceded Wanderers' start had been "challenging" but he was just happy to see his side get the just rewards he felt they deserved.

"It's not a relief because I strongly believe that if you work hard and you study the game then you get your rewards and that's what we've certainly done here," the Scot said.

"I've tried to stay calm, I've had good support from the chairman in a difficult moment, but we've certainly not been far away having registered five draws.

"I had belief that we'd turn it around if we just kept working hard.

"I had strong confidence it would come. You have to go through some bad moments to get your reward and that's what we've done."

Victory came on an afternoon when Birmingham were their own worst enemy, Dan Burn misjudging a hopeful clearance up field after just 12 minutes to allow Jermaine Beckford to race through and open the scoring.

Former City midfielder Neil Danns then capitalised on another glaring error, this time from goalkeeper Darren Randolph as he flapped at Liam Feeney's cross, before Bolton held on after substitute Nikola Zigic had given the hosts hope.

There was controversy in the closing minutes, though, as Birmingham saw strong penalty appeals waved away as Callum Reilly's shot was blocked by the raised hands of Feeney.

"It's a difficult one," Freedman said.

"I can see Birmingham's strong point, his hands are above, but it's so close that the referee has used common sense."

Freedman may well have felt his side got away with the decision.

And Birmingham counterpart Lee Clark was certainly more vocal in his belief that his side were again on the end of a bad decision.

Clark said: "Without a doubt (it was a penalty), there's no ifs or buts.

"In all honesty, that must be at least five now that we've been on the end of that haven't been given for us or given against us."

Reflecting on his side's performance, Clark refused to lay any blame at the door of centre-back Burn or goalkeeper Randolph.

Instead, the Blues boss rued the fact his side were a shadow of the one which had won their previous three home matches, scoring 11 goals in the process.

"They're just individual errors from two lads who have been brilliant for us all season," Clark said.

"They're human beings, we all make mistakes, unfortunately for the two lads their errors have cost us goals.

"There's no finger pointing at them.

"Our general first-half performance, in terms of not being the driving force we have been in our previous three home games, was the catalyst for the result."

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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