Owen Coyle: Fabrice Muamba sent Bolton message of support

By Phil McNultyChief football writer, BBC Sport at the Reebok Stadium

Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle has revealed that his players received a message of support from Fabrice Muamba before their crucial win against fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers at the Reebok.

Muamba remains in intensive care in the London Chest Hospital as he recovers from the cardiac arrest he suffered during the FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham at White Hart Lane seven days ago.

But Bolton boss Coyle said: "Fabrice managed to get a message through one of the consultants saying he wished the lads well for the game.

"It was great for the lads to hear that because they know he is getting better - ever so slowly - but he is getting better."

Two goals from David Wheater gave Bolton an emotionally-charged 2-1 win - with support for 23-year-old Muamba before, during and after the game.

And Coyle added that Muamba would have been made quickly aware of the result that takes Bolton out of the bottom three at the expense of QPR.

He said: "I know our chairman Phil Gartside has spoken to Fabrice's father Marcel, who is at the hospital, and I'm sure he would have passed it on."

Bolton were able to conclude a traumatic week with three points which leaves them a point clear of the drop zone with eight games left.

Coyle said: "I think we knew it was going to be an emotionally charged day and all our thoughts are still with Fabrice and his recovery.

"We felt we wanted to go out and represent him in the right way on the football pitch and I think we did that."

Coyle paid tribute to Blackburn's supporters, as well as Bolton's, for the backing they gave to Muamba even though their team lost a vital game.

He said: "I thought the conduct throughout the stadium, from all of the fans, was exemplary.

"The worldwide support for Fabrice has been a real positive. The encouragement and level of support he has had has been used by his family as a great source of strength and I'm sure that energy has filtered through to Fabrice."

Coyle, who joined his players in a huddle on the pitch after the final whistle, said: "It has been an emotional week and I just wanted to thank everybody for their efforts.

"They were out on their feet both physically and mentally, but that is a small thing compared to the fight Fabrice has got."

Rovers boss Steve Kean felt that his side failed to do themselves justice and believes they were distracted by the build-up to the game.

"The occasion and the atmosphere in the ground put Bolton on the front foot," he said. "We never matched their intensity.

"We never played well today but we'll get back on the training ground and prepare for Manchester United.

"It wasn't a normal game but the most important thing is that Fabrice is making progress."

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