Sunday 18 March 2018

Coyle keen to keep Elmander


Mark Staniforth

Bolton boss Owen Coyle repeated his belief that he can persuade striker Johan Elmander to sign a new contract after the Swede took his season's tally to eight with a brace.

Elmander's second-half strikes added to a pair of penalties from Kevin Davies and a cool finish from Lee Chung-yong to move Coyle's men at least temporarily up to the dizzy heights of fourth in the table. It wrapped up a fantastic week for Elmander whose wife gave birth to a baby girl last Thursday.

"I knew Johan would be chomping at the bit to play today and his performance was outstanding. I'm very comfortable with the relationship I have with Johan. We speak all the time and I understand that as a player you get on a run and you don't want to be sidetracked. We'll continue to have a dialogue and it doesn't faze me," said Coyle.

However Coyle was keen to shrug off suggestions that his side should now be aiming at a European place after their fine run which has seen them leapfrog Manchester City on goal difference.

"We're enjoying the wins but the only league table I've ever looked at is the one after the season is finished. I'll see them if we've improved. Everyone is giving their all and they're doing it with a smile on their faces," added Coyle.

"We asked the players to give the same again and from the first whistle the level of performance was terrific. If I'm nit-picking I'm disappointed we lost a goal but Newcastle are a good side with good players.

"There is no doubt [Newcastle goalscorer] Andy Carroll is a top player and will continue to get better, but the way my players went about it they fully deserved the three points. We scored lots of goals and we could have had more."

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton said he hoped his side's thumping would provide a "reality check" as his side continues to come to grips with their first topsy-turvy season back in the top-flight.

"It was a bad day at the office for sure. I don't think 5-1 was a true reflection on the game but we added to our downfall and gave away some very poor goals. It's about a reality check," said Hughton.

"We're playing in the toughest division and from day one we've said there are going to be some ups and downs. We've had some good days and we've had some bad days, and today was a very bad day."

Sunday Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport