Post-match reaction to the 2-2 draw between Bolton and Blackpool.Bolton manager Dougie Freedman praised his players' efforts following the 2-2 draw with Blackpool that saw them fall agonisingly short of an npower Championship play-off place.
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Wanderers started a frantic final afternoon in sixth place but their promotion ambitions lay in tatters after fine goals from Matt Phillips and Ludo Sylvestre gave the rampant Seasiders a 2-0 lead with 35 minutes played.
A quickfire response stunned Paul Ince's side in first-half stoppage time, Chris Eagles and Craig Davies the men on target for the hosts.
Despite their best efforts, Bolton could not force a winner, although a draw looked like being enough until Anthony Knockaert's late strike snatched a 3-2 win for Leicester at Nottingham Forest and denied Freedman's team a coveted top-six berth on goal difference.
"We had an ear on the other game, there's no doubt," said the Wanderers boss.
"It's a strange game because you're looking at the other results - one minute it's not going for you, the next minute it is for you.
"I felt that we set out for the win and we continued doing that until the 90th minute. Along the way there were a lot of bumps and rides but that's football, that's life.
"Yes, I'm disappointed with the outcome but, if you're looking at it from the coaches' role in the team, I thought we stuck at it, went for the throat and we were very unfortunate not to win the game of football.
"It was a difficult start for us but the lads responded fantastically well. The momentum was with us in the second half, we kept on asking questions of Blackpool's defence and I thought we had two or three opportunities to win the game.
"Credit to the lads for their performance over the 90 minutes. It's not to be, but we have shown fantastic spirit and character and bits of quality along this three-month period which shows me there's a lot of positives looking forward."
Indeed, Bolton languished in 20th position at the beginning of February and, despite their subsequent turnaround failing at the last, Freedman sees plenty of reasons to be positive heading into the summer.
"I feel quite excited because the picture is unfolding in front of me," he added.
"Now I know what I've got, where we are and how far we've got to go.
"I know what I've got to do and when you're a coach that is a fantastic tool to have.
"That game taught me something in terms of my players, it taught me what action we've got to take over the summer and there's no doubt we will be taking action.
"I want to be leaving behind this season, leaving behind this game and looking forward to an active summer with the possibility of bringing one or two in and having a good pre-season."
Blackpool boss Paul Ince was impressed with how his team capitalised on an nervy start from their hosts and insisted they should have inflicted further damage.
"We should have been four or five up, to be fair, before they scored," he said.
"I thought some of the football we played was fantastic.
"It was pleasing to see Matty Phillips score. I didn't think he was going to score after the first 10 minutes, he had so many chances. It was a wonderful goal.
"They looked nervous, to be honest, and how can you not be? You know how important it is to try and get into the play-off and they didn't start very well."
Ince also had some words of comfort for his opposite number.
He added "I feel sorry for Dougie, I think he's done an amazing job since he came here and I know he's probably hurting now.
"He's a fantastic manager, a lovely guy and he'll bounce back.
"It'll be the worst night in the world tonight but you have to get over it and come back stronger. I'm sure Dougie will and I'm sure the players will."