HAYDEN Mullins says he loved the experience of taking charge of Colchester United for the first time.

The 42-year-old guided the U’s to a creditable 0-0 draw at in-form Bolton Wanderers on Good Friday, having taken over as the club’s head coach until the end of the season.

Colchester performed well at the University of Bolton Stadium against a Bolton side who are now 14 games unbeaten in League Two and Mullins says he enjoyed being at the helm.

Mullins said: “I loved it.

“It’s something that I really enjoy, being out there on a matchday.

“I know a lot of coaches and managers don’t really like it but I think it’s fine.

“It’s one of the points of the game where you can really influence the team.

“You can do a lot in training and show them shapes and bits and pieces but when you come out here on a matchday, you can really see it kind of working and coming to life.

“It was good and the staff who helped me were brilliant.

“Paul Tisdale, Darren Smith the goalkeeping coach, Kem (Ismail, sports scientist) – everyone chipped in and helped.”

Colchester spent a good deal of the first half on the defensive, with in-form Bolton twice hitting the woodwork and also forcing goalkeeper Dean Gerken into some good saves.

But the U’s were seen as much more of an attacking force after half-time and their hosts seemed to run out of ideas, as the game wore on.

“It’s really pleasing as a coach when you set a team up and the players go out there and try to give you what you feel you’ve given them, in terms of the information,” said Mullins, who took over from Wayne Brown as Colchester’s interim head coach, last week.

“I think it was a real honest performance.

“Sometimes, they can almost take the information too literally and end up too deep and you’re just sitting on top of each other, because they feel they’re in the right position.

“It’s about pressing at the right time and realising that we can get higher.

“Every minute than went past and we were still 0-0, we grew in confidence which was good.

“We had a chance to get them in at the half-time break and really talk to them and get some key points into them, which was good.

“I thought we started the second half really, really well.”

Colchester had a strong appeal for a penalty in the second half when Brendan Wiredu tumbled under Ricardo Santos’s challenge in the area.

However, referee Ollie Yates waved away their claims.

“I wouldn’t know if it was a penalty – I haven’t looked back on it,” added Mullins.

“But Brendan is a threat when he’s running from deep.

“He’s a big boy and he plays with loads of energy.

“He played really well, as did a number of the other players.”