Premier League

Coyle - We will defy critics

Gutsy Trotters have belief to stave off relegation, says boss

Owen Coyle: Backing his players to show guts and determination in survival fight

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Bolton manager Owen Coyle has urged his plucky players to continue defying their critics as they look to climb out of the bottom three.

The Trotters could move above Premier League relegation rivals Wigan and Queens Park Rangers with a positive result against hosts Sunderland on Saturday.

Coyle's side, currently sitting third from bottom, hauled themselves within a point of safety thanks to Tuesday's crucial 2-1 win at Aston Villa.

And, with the luxury of having played a game less than Wigan and QPR, their fate remains in their own hands.

Coyle says his team's survival hopes have continually been written off by people on the outside - but insists the belief inside the camp to beat the drop is stronger than ever.

Trust

"If my players didn't have belief and trust in each other then they would have felt sorry for themselves and crumbled."

Owen Coyle

Quotes of the week

"When QPR picked up a big result at the weekend against Tottenham, all of a sudden there was a four-point gap to us and people again wanted to write us off," he said.

"We've become accustomed to that, so what we will do is look to keep on showing people they're getting it wrong.

"We've done that in the last two games, going a goal behind in each, only to take a point against Swansea and beat Aston Villa.

"If my players didn't have belief and trust in each other then they would have felt sorry for themselves and crumbled.

"But they picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and came roaring back in both games, culminating in us taking four points from the two matches.

"Against Swansea and Villa we showed real guts and desire to push on and win the game, and that's what we need in the final four games."

'Everybody for themselves'

Bolton's last seven games have yielded an impressive return of 13 points, although Wigan and QPR have also enjoyed recent upturns in form to blow the relegation battle wide open.

Coyle said: "The teams around us have picked up some huge results a lot of people did not expect, which has not benefitted us.

"What we've simply done is earn the results we felt were there to be gained.

"Obviously, sometimes games look more winnable than others, but at this stage of the season that theory goes out of the window and it is everybody for themselves."