Davies backs misfiring Elmander

Elmander has scored just nine goals since a £10million

transfer from Toulouse in the summer of 2008 and was grateful to

Davies for sparing his blushes against Spurs. Having looked short

of confidence in the penalty area when he opted to pass when faced

with a chance to shoot from eight yards Elmander then blazed high

over the crossbar with just goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to beat.

Davies showed him how it should be done in the 34th minute when he

expertly converted a cross from the 28-year-old, who played a key

role in the move which led to the goal. However, Elmander still

could not follow suit early in the second half when he drilled into

the side-netting from Davies’ pass and it cost Bolton in the end as

Jermain Defoe earned his side a replay. Elmander has regularly been

derided for scoring just four goals this season, two of which have

come in Barclays Premier League defeats, but Davies only has five

yet he escapes criticism. And the Wanderers captain said he felt

other attributes of his team-mates game were overlooked. “I have

struggled for goals as well this year as well,” admitted Davies.

“He works his socks off and we are all behind him and believe in

him because he does a great job for the side and as a team we

appreciate what he does. “His work-rate is unbelievable. He has

always been willing, he is a team player and he sacrifices a lot.

“When you are playing up there sometimes you have to work for the

team. “He runs the channels, he makes it difficult for defenders,

closes the goalie down so the only thing that is lacking is goals.

“The manager is working with him and building his confidence up.

You can see he is desperate to score a goal and sometimes you can

over-try. “But if he keeps doing what he is doing he is a good

finisher because we see it in training. “If he gets in those

positions one of them is going to fly in no doubt – you never know

he might get us the winning goal down at White Hart Lane in the

replay.” The very least Bolton manager Owen Coyle demands from his

players is commitment and hard work and he believes Elmander is

giving everything to the cause having returned to the starting

line-up because of injury to Ivan Klasnic. And as a former striker

himself he knows fortunes can change in an instant and has told the

Swede not to get too hung up on not scoring and instead to

concentrate on just getting back into the groove. “I thought Johan

Elmander was outstanding with his level of performance [against

Tottenham],” said the Scot. “I don’t know if he’s trying too hard

but he is getting chances because of his hard work and once he is

in there he just has to show that level of composure. “Hit the

target and if the goalkeeper saves them all well and good but if

you hit the target then the more it results in goals for you – I

know that from personal experience. “I didn’t have the most power

in the game but the more you get on target the more go in.”