x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Coyle calm over Elmander contract

The Swede takes his season's tally to eight with two goals in the crushing 5-1 win over Newcastle United.

Owen Coyle, the Bolton Wanderers manager, 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 two goals in the crushing win over Newcastle United yesterday.

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 memorable week for Elmander, whose wife gave birth to a girl on Thursday. Said Coyle: "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."

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," Coyle said. "I'll see then if we've improved. Everyone is giving their all and they're doing it with a smile on their faces.

"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 Andy Carroll is a top player at the moment 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."

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

Hughton said: "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. 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."

Hughton admitted he had "no complaints" about the 75th-minute dismissal of Fabricio Coloccini but denied indiscipline was causing a problem for his side, who missed both Joey Barton and Cheick Tiote through suspension.

Said Hughton: "I think over the season we have had committed players. We are on the back of one ban with Tiote and now we will miss Coloccini. But we have a competitive team and a competitive squad.

"In every game you try to look for some positives and we did create some good chances but the Premier League is unforgiving. Andy Carroll scoring is another plus for him, but there were certainly more negatives today."