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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » 'I don’t care if we win the next three games 1-0' - Evatt defends form

'I don’t care if we win the next three games 1-0' - Evatt defends form

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

‘One-nil to the Wanderers’ might just catch on at the UniBol when fans are finally allowed back through the turnstiles.

Ian Evatt’s side have made a habit out of winning games by the slenderest of score-lines, doing so on 16 occasions in League Two thus far, but the Bolton boss maintains that the statistic only tells half a story.

Whereas he has relied on his defence to protect a lead on occasion, most recently in midweek against Carlisle United, it has more often been the case that Wanderers’ lead could - and should – have been wider.

Fans of the XG (expected goals) charts which usually follow a weekend round of games will attest that Bolton rarely over-perform but while the performances and points keep coming, Evatt feels it is unfair to suggest his team is merely ‘hanging on’.

“I see it and I’d be a lot more worried if we were not creating the opportunities we are doing,” he said. “We are not just creating goalscoring opportunities, we are creating gilt-edged chances and players we have got, those chances will start to go in sooner rather than later.

“I have seen people commenting and listened to a podcast, (BBC’s The Wanderer) I can’t remember his name, it’s not Maggie, it’s Daryl, saying ‘they can’t keep getting away with it’. How are we getting away with it? It is almost as if we don’t deserve to win these matches. Get a grip!

“We have controlled the majority of those games, that’s a fact, look at the stats, we are not winging it. We are winning games because we deserve to win them. And I don’t care if we win the next three games 1-0 because if we win them we get promoted.

“We want to be free-scoring, of course, but we also want to keep the score at nil because it means we win games.

“It is where we are at as a team and how we have evolved at this precise moment in time. Winning the game is all that matters.”

One statistic that cannot be disputed is the fact Wanderers have kept 11 clean sheets in their last 19 games, or the view that Evatt’s defence has improved exponentially since the turn of the year.

“By winning football matches – whether that’s 1-0 or 4-0 – it only counts for three points,” he said. “Goal difference counts at the end of the season, I’ll give you that.

“But would you prefer to score two or three or concede two or three, because then it would be the defence’s fault.

“It’s chicken and egg at the moment. All that matters it three points at the minute because we want to get out of the division and I will argue until I am blue in the face that the majority if not all of those 16 games we have deserved to win on the balance of play.”

The balance of play will be crucial at the Mazuma Stadium where Wanderers come up against a Morecambe side quite unlike any other in the division.

Boasting the lowest possession stats and second-lowest pass success rate, the Shrimps have based their success this season on a razor-sharp counter-attack and the goals of Carlos Mendes Gomes and Cole Stockton.

“They are probably the most dangerous team out of possession because they set up to soak up pressure and then hit you fast on the counter attacks with energy and pace,” Evatt observed.

“We have to be really careful with the ball in transitions. We need to make sure when we are swinging punches that we are not doing so with our chin hanging in the air, we have to keep that guard up and constantly jab away to create the proper opening.

“That is how I see it on Saturday. I think we will have all the ball, control the game through possession, but they are extremely dangerous without the ball and in transition. We have to be ultra-cautious and reliable in possession.

“I don’t have the stat to hand but I believe we’re top of the table when it comes to counter-pressing, so that hopefully will come to fruition and when we give the ball away there is no disappointment, we go hunting it back and limit their counter attack.”



El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

Evatt giving away my Prediction League secrets!

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