Phil Parkinson Recalls Early Days as Bolton Boss

  • February 18, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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Phil Parkinson has looked back at his early days as Bolton manager and believes he can be proud of the job he has done at the club.

Fresh from relegation to League One, Parkinson was appointed Wanderers boss in June 2016 and tasked with guiding the club to promotion at the first attempt whilst under a transfer embargo.

The Trotters finished as runners-up in the 2016/17 campaign, sealing promotion to the Championship, and retained their status the following season with a dramatic final-day victory over Nottingham Forest.

When asked about the difficulties of competing in the second tier, Parkinson admits finances play a huge part in attracting players to a club but believes attitude and character shown during his time at the University of Bolton Stadium proves survival can be achieved once again.

"The first day I went in was the morning after England had lost to Iceland at the Euros," Parkinson told The Coaches' Voice.

"I said, 'Look lads, what I want to do is to give us an identity and be everything England weren't last night. A clear way of playing. Attitude, commitment, desire.'

"Those basic things were what we needed to rebuild the connection between the supporters and the players: honest effort and commitment.

"Throughout pre-season, my aim was to find a clear identity of how we were going to achieve that.

"A lot of managers talk about their philosophy. I've got a lot of opinions on that, because if you are a Pep Guardiola and you've got an open chequebook, you can say: 'This is how I'm going to play and anyone who doesn't fit into that, I'm going to move him on.'

"If you're not in that privileged position, you've got to find a way of playing. It might not be the way that ideally you want to play, but you've got to find a way that suits your group of players. That gets the best out of them.

"When we came into this club, so many people had said the players were the worst group of characters they'd ever dealt with. A load of bad eggs.

"We found that wasn't the case. They were actually a good group of lads who had really bonded through the adversity of all the problems at the club.

"We went to Sweden in pre-season and I came back thinking: 'I'm not sure we're good enough as a team, but in terms of the lads - they're a good set.'

"That season, we went straight back up to the Championship. But it has been an almighty battle to stay there.

"When you're fighting relegation for so many months, as we were last season, the defeats can be hard to take. But you've almost got to accept that they're going to happen and move on from them quickly.

"You can't let them bring you or the training ground down too much.

"If you are what we are in terms of resources, and you're competing at the level the Championship is now, the reality is that you're going to get beat. As much as we didn't like it, as a staff we learnt to move on quickly. To always be looking for the solution for the next game."

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 18 16
20 Tranmere Rovers 17 16
21 Milton Keynes Dons 18 13
22 Southend United 19 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 15 1
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