Megson - We're not dirty
Bolton boss Gary Megson has defended his players after criticism of their heavy-handed approach.
By Kate Burlaga
Last Updated: 06/12/07 12:43pm
Bolton manager Gary Megson has defended his players after criticism of their apparently heavy-handed approach.
Strikers Kevin Davies and El-Hadji Diouf have both been the subject of bad press in recent weeks, and Megson is eager to refute suggestions that Wanderers are a 'dirty' side.
Davies tussled with Patrice Evra throughout the Trotters' 1-0 win against Manchester United, while Diouf, back from a one-match ban, collected his seventh yellow card of the season for a rash challenge on Liverpool's Alvaro Arbeloa at Anfield on Sunday.
Diouf's tackle prompted former referee Jeff Winter to add his voice to the critics by calling for a six-match ban for the Senegalese star, but Megson believes the condemnation is unfair.
"At the time I thought it was a forward's tackle," admitted Megson.
"What I sincerely hope doesn't happen is that all this stuff about Diouf, and Davies against Manchester United, [I hope] that people don't start believing we are an overly physical team."
Megson, however, is sure to demand a show of strength from his players on Thursday, when they visit Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) in the Uefa Cup.
And the match, in front of Red Star's notoriously hostile fans, could be a stiff test because the Serbian side reckon they have pinpointed Wanderers' Achilles heel.
"Their weakest link is the defence, especially on the flanks," Belgrade assistant coach Bora Cvetkovic revealed.
A two-goal victory will ensure Bolton qualify with a game to go, while a defeat will end their European adventure. Any other result means qualification will hinge on the final round of group games.