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Bolton gain precious point at Spurs

in English Premier League 27 Apr 2008

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Gary Megson expects to see Bolton Wanderers move within sight of Premier League safety next week following Saturday's 1-1 draw against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Spurs could easily have put five past Bolton, but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Ali Al Habsi helped the visitors to a draw.

Stelios Giannakopoulos scored Bolton's goal after half-time, before Steed Malbranque equalised.

Bolton sit one point above the relegation zone with matches against Sunderland and Chelsea remaining.

Megson admits they were fortunate to earn this latest draw, but knows his side will be virtually guaranteed safety if they win next week, and other results go in their favour.

“We didn't play well by any stretch of the imagination, and were fortunate to go in all square,” manager Megson admitted.

“To score the first goal was very pleasing, but we did not hold on for as long as we would have liked.

“I don't see it as an opportunity missed though, because of the quality of the opposition we were playing against.”

Bolton were relegated from the top-flight ten years ago after a final day 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Megson hopes it does not come down to a final day encounter with Chelsea once again to decide their fate.

“I've never been disappointed with the spirit here. That is one thing I have never come in and complained about after a game,” he added.

“We have just played two cup finals and in our next game we will have 25,000 people supporting us to get the result we need.

“Sunderland are safe, and have done very well to get themselves into that position. But we are not safe yet and we have to go out and perform like we have done at home since I have been manager at Bolton.

“That has always given us a chance to win the game.”

Tottenham's league season is virtually over, as even the opportunity to finish in tenth position seems beyond them.

This was their fourth successive 1-1 draw, but they only have themselves to blame for failing to win the game.

Aaron Lennon and Robbie Keane both missed good first half opportunities, before Giannakopoulos gave Bolton the lead on 46 minutes as he bundled home from close range.

Malbranque netted within five minutes though, and Dimitar Berbatov, Jonathan Woodgate and substitute Darren Bent all missed late chances to win the game.

“The players worked hard and we had good chances, but we did not take them. The final touch was not as accurate as it could have been,” manager Juande Ramos admitted.

“There were certainly wnough opportunities for us to win the game, but football is like that.

“These games are still important to teams who are fighting against relegation, so it is important that we remain professional.”

It seems Tottenham already have one eye on next season. Ramos has secured the signature of Croatian international midfielder Luka Modric, 22, for a fee in the region of 15 million pounds from Dinamo Zagreb.

The signing is a signal of intent from Ramos, who has already lifted the League Cup during his short time as Spurs manager.

Modric was in the stands to watch this game and will link up with the side after Euro 2008.

“It is always important to be ambitious and we just want to finish as high as possible,” Ramos said.

“We continue to build our squad, but you can not always be assured of the timings of signings due to players having contracts at other clubs.

“This club always wants to sign good players, and Modric is a good young player.

“He can occupy several different positions.”

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