I just watched Match of the Day with the sound muted, because I still felt too raw from the game. It was such a wretched performance, so I sat in a dark room, let the shadows moving across the screen throw ugly shapes on the walls and tried to sooth myself as the 'highlights' washed over me.
Was it really as bad as I remembered? Could I have overreacted? Maybe, in the hours that had passed since the final whistle, I had stewed to the point where I couldn't think rationally about it. If this was the case, wouldn't it be prudent to review the whole horrible thing before spouting off?
Martin Olsson and Kevin Davies
After all, I am a professional (of sorts), providing a service (of sorts), and if I've learnt anything from doing this, it's always important to get your facts straight before making a fool of yourself.
The worst part was Hansen's analysis. When the big red circles appeared, ringing the offending players, scarring the pitch and highlighting Bolton's defensive impotence, it all seemed so obvious, so simple. It was Subbuteo defending.
Zat Knight looked frazzled all game, possibly because he realised he wasn't going to get any help. It started to spill over and get ugly after the first goal, as Zat was left on his face in the penalty area after being left to defend two-on-one. Poor Sam Ricketts had filled in so well, but he was inadequate today, making Nikola Kalinic look like the second coming of Alan Shearer.
The defending was appalling, but what can you expect when you lose one of the best young defenders in the game? The really disappointing thing was that Blackburn had comparable problems in defence and Bolton were still inept when they had the ball. If Johan Elmander can't get the better of Keith Andrews, or if Matty Taylor can't outrun a fossilised Michel Salgado, then there are serious problems.
Ever since he signed a new fat contract in July, Matty Taylor's performances have slipped, and today he was invisible (except for when he popped up in the first half to blast a shot right into Paul Robinson's vast midriff). I don't want to just point out Taylor's absence, because there are a few senior players who have signed contracts recently who have failed to impress in this scoreless run.
500 minutes is a nice round number for the journos and the hacks (like me) to get their teeth into, but really it represents the outcome of some poor decisions that were made six months ago.
Something has to be wrong when Owen Coyle is clocking up more kilometres in the technical area that the players are on the pitch. If you check the recent match reports, Bolton concede all their goals in the last ten minutes of the first half and in the last 30 minutes of the game.
The Blackburn game was their fifth fixture in the last two weeks, so maybe it was just the grind of the Christmas fixtures, but the difference between the great players and the average players is that the great players expect to play twice a week.
It becomes a question of ambition. The thought that these players aren't fit enough should be upsetting, because you get the feeling that this team is exactly where they thought they would be at the beginning of the season.