Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce has told his players they need to work harder to help get the best out of Nicolas Anelka.
The Trotters' £8million summer signing struggled to make an impact during Saturday's 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough at the Reebok Stadium, but Allardyce felt the French striker had done little wrong.
Quizzed about Anelka's display, Allardyce replied: "There were reasons for that.
"Middlesbrough's tactics, in terms of playing like we've done for many a season in a 4-5-1 and playing on the break only and being difficult to break down.
"We worked on that all week and we knew we'd have to be patient and would have to produce the quality of ball that would break Middlesbrough down.
"We didn't do that and our efforts on goal were average to say the least.
"We got the numerous amount of set-plays - which is normally where we are so good at breaking the opposition down - and unfortunately that failed us as well."