Bolton boss defends Jaaskelainen

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Owen Coyle admitted Jussi Jaaskelainen was breathing a sigh of relief on Sunday night but claimed his Bolton team-mates still have much to thank him for.

Bolton overcame the sending off of Jaaskelainen yesterday to recover from a two-goal deficit and claim a draw in a fiery Barclays Premier League contest at the Reebok Stadium. The Finn was dismissed after 37 minutes for appearing to slap Birmingham's first goalscorer Roger Johnson in the face.

Coyle said: "I'm not going to make excuses for him - Jussi is a grown man and he has been a top-class keeper all his days in the Barclays Premier League. He was beside himself at the end of the game but our strength has always been in the group."

Without Jaaskelainen Bolton fell further behind as Craig Gardner grabbed Blues' second but a Kevin Davies penalty and a stunning free-kick from Robbie Blake netted a point.

"Jussi saved us at West Ham last week time upon time, he made a great penalty save," Coyle added.

"We know all the squad can be called upon, we all have a part to play. It summed it up when Robbie Blake stepped up and fired a great free-kick.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish was disappointed with the penalty decision and also felt Barry Ferguson was harshly penalised for the free-kick from which Blake scored.

McLeish said: "It feels like a defeat but in the grand scheme of things we believe it could be a good point. We are quite sore about it and the manner in which we lost the goals.

"The penalty I felt was extremely soft. It is a man's game, English football is passionate, fast, intense.

"If we are going to see penalties, hopefully they are going to be consistent and see the way our guys get barged in the box. It would be good if he [referee Kevin Friend] watched it and explained why there was a penalty and why there was a free-kick."

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Jussi Jaaskelainen
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League

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