Ian Evatt admitted his players had “let everybody down” after a demoralising 4-0 home defeat to Wigan Athletic.
The Bolton boss delivered a damning verdict of his players’ performance as they were brushed aside by the Latics in the heaviest home defeat of his tenure.
James McClean scored twice, with Will Keane and Callum Lang rubbing salt into the wounds for the Whites, who drop to 10th in the table.
Declan John and Kieran Lee dropped out of the squad with injury, while Gethin Jones is also facing a spell on the side-lines – with their replacements failing to impress on the night.
“It was a humbling defeat. We were really under-par all over the pitch and it is frustrating,” Evatt said.
“We were under par. We had a tough week, two out of the back four injured, Kieran Lee who has been playing out of his skin injured, other people playing with injuries.
“We were light and you can’t afford that against one of the best teams in the league like Wigan. They are powerful, they are strong, they did nothing different than I thought, but credit to them.”
Evatt’s comments from last weekend had circulated around social media last week in which he made a bold claim that Bolton were the “best team in the league” – though Wigan boss Leam Richardson denied they had been a factor in the result.
“I said that after last Saturday’s game, not about Wigan, and I said it because of our performance not the result. That is a nonsense excuse, to be honest,” Evatt said, when asked if they could have stoked up the opposition.”
Wanderers fell away in the second half, prompting some angry scenes in the stands.
Referee Charles Breakspear had to halt the game on a few occasions to clear debris thrown from the stands.
On the pitch, Evatt had no excuse.
“I was disappointed with everybody’s performance, not just the ones that came in,” he said.
“I understand in derby games that you are going to have nerves but that is not a stop sign on how we play and the bravery we are supposed to show in possession.
“If you lack a bit of belief then you will be found out. I thought we were fearful, negative, we didn’t take risks, when we’d broken their press we were too quick to pass backwards and they were able to regroup and reform.
“The first goal was a bad mistake. It is a handball, but it is what it is.
“Just as we are getting a head of steam up after half time and we have hit the bar, to concede from a goal kick is poor, then the third and fourth goal looked exactly the same.
“It is humbling, no excuses from our perspective, it is not good enough and we have let a lot of people down today.”
Asked if it was his worst day in charge of Bolton, he added: “No – but it certainly brings back some awful memories from the start of last season. Port Vale, Leyton Orient away springs to mind.
“It is just a rude awakening of where we are currently at. We have to be full tilt and all-systems-go and if you have off days that is what can happen against the better teams in this league.”