Football

Coyle defends under-fire Davies

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Bolton manager Owen Coyle has defended captain Kevin Davies after the striker found himself the target for abuse for the challenge which injured Manchester United's Tom Cleverley.

The 34-year-old's tackle in last weekend's 5-0 defeat put the England Under-21 international out of the game and saw him sidelined for a month with ankle ligament damage. Davies has since spoken to Cleverley but the striker's wife Emma has been the subject of abuse on Twitter in the last few days.

"The bottom line is Kevin Davies made a challenge on Tom Cleverly which was a foul. That is all it was," said the Bolton boss.

"The boy picked up an injury and I think he is out for four weeks but it happens up and down the country every week.

"Last year at Old Trafford Stuart Holden was injured (rupturing knee ligaments) and he has been out ever since. I don't recall us making any fuss about the challenge. It was a red card for Jonny Evans. At the end of the day, Kevin made a challenge and the referee awarded a free-kick. That was it.

"The lad was unfortunate and we wish him a speedy recovery because he is an outstanding young player and he will go on and have a glittering career - but that was it."

Davies is nearly always near the top of the list of players who commit the most fouls. This season he is joint-third with 11 in four matches but Coyle insists that is down to competitiveness and nothing else.

"There is no malice in Kevin Davies. He is a strong physical player but he never went to hurt the lad," added the Wanderers manager.

"Injuries happen to every team, not just the elite. You have to move on and you know when the game is played at such a pace there will be challenges. As long as nothing is malicious in intent that will be the nature of the game."

"If there is anything other than that then of course we have to stamp it out and make sure it is sorted. But anyone who saw it knows it was a challenge in which the lad just picked up an injury. I don't really know what else there is to say about it."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Football
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Manchester United
Jonny Evans
Kevin Davies
Tom Cleverley
Stuart Holden
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