RICKETTS WANTS BOLTON TO GROW
Bolton defender Sam Ricketts believes the newly-relegated side need to go away and evolve before they bid to make an immediate return to the Barclays Premier League.
Owen Coyle's Wanderers needed a win against Stoke on Sunday to ensure their future in the top flight after Manchester City defeated their relegation rivals QPR.
However, Bolton fell agonisingly short as they drew 2-2 at the Britannia Stadium which meant the end of their 11-year stay in the Premier League.
Ricketts has already suffered the agony of relegation during his time at Oxford, but believes this latest setback will drive him and his team-mates to step up and improve for next season in the npower Championship.
"You need to evaluate when things haven't gone to plan, which they obviously haven't this season," the 30-year-old said.
"Obviously disappointment is the overriding emotion right now.
"It's a time to get away and refresh yourself and then look at how to bounce back from this.
"You need to look at yourself first and foremost, what you thought you did well, what you didn't do well, how you can improve so you can step back up to being better than you were before.
"I think that's the attitude you've got to have now.
"When I was a young professional I got relegated with Oxford but it was my first year as a pro and I hardly played that season.
"My career has been on an upward curve for the last eight years or so and this is the first knockback like this.
"It's certainly not the first knockback in my career, I went down to non-league and came back stronger and that's my philosophy in life.
"It was the same when I got injured (he ruptured his Achilles last season and was out for 10 months). I said: 'When I came back I wanted to be better, fitter and stronger than I was before' and that's the challenge as a club.
"Football keeps moving forward so we need to keep evolving as players."
And Ricketts admitted that Bolton had left it too late to avoid relegation from the Premier League this season after their poor start.
"Looking back over the season we've not been good enough," Ricketts said.
"We gave ourselves a huge mountain to climb.
"In the second half of the season our points tally has been decent to be fair but it was the early part of the season where we let ourselves down and we never quite recovered.
"We got ourselves in a great situation to get out of it and in the end we couldn't quite achieve it.
"Since I've come I've been made to feel very welcome, as a club it's very close to my heart.
"I've loved the three years here and it's just disappointing that we've got relegated."
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