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Ian Evatt holds frank talks with squad ahead of Plymouth Argyle trip

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Ian Evatt holds frank talks with squad ahead of Plymouth Argyle trip 13114840

There were bruised egos aplenty aboard the Wanderers team bus heading for Plymouth on Monday lunchtime after a team meeting of home truths and harsh words.

Ian Evatt had spent his Sunday sifting through footage of the embarrassing defeat to Wigan Athletic to present his findings to the squad at Lostock the following day.

And before calling his players together, the irate Bolton boss brought the local media in for a few words about what happens next.

Eager to move on from Saturday – and also to underline that one poor performance will not define his side’s campaign – it was clear from the off that he was not going to sugar coat his thoughts.

“Football has a funny way of just when you think things are going well, of coming back and kicking you in the nuts,” Evatt said, half-joking.

“On Sunday I watched Plymouth and watched our game twice over. It was a difficult watch but we win or we learn. And I learned a lot about myself on Saturday, about the team and the individuals in it.

“Those that know me we well enough now know I never switch off. I live and breathe this and I want to win at everything I do, no matter what.

“It probably hurts me more than anyone else, and that’s the truth.

“Have I slept? Not very much. But it is about the next challenge now and we have to make sure that we go there fully focussed and be more of ourselves than we were on Saturday.”

Wanderers remain a point off the top six, which after two difficult defeats on the spin feels incongruous with the current mood around the UniBol.

Evatt is confident that after addressing his players, and reminding them of how far standards fell in their previous 90 minutes, he would get the performance he was looking for at Home Park.

“One game does not make us a bad team,” he said. “I hope I know my players. One thing I am is consistent. Whether it is with you guys – and sometimes it does me no favours – or with my players, I will always tell them the truth and speak frankly.

“If I am not honest with them then I am not doing anyone justice. It is never personal with me. It is about business and us being better, how we win on a Tuesday or a Saturday.

“I won’t go and scream and shout, it will be legitimate criticism and a heated debate about what went wrong and what we didn’t do that we normally would, and it really was a perfect storm.

“We’d had a rough week injury-wise off a frustrating result, not performance, at Sheffield Wednesday and we were facing our local rivals with no injuries, fresh, and we got punched on the chin and knocked out.

“But all great champions come back off the canvass. We have to dust ourselves down and perform at Plymouth, and I am sure we will.”

Evatt was unsurprised by the level of criticism he and his team attracted after Saturday and though he will be able to move on from a result he hopes will be a one-off, he reckons the performance of most of his players was a more concerning aspect of the afternoon.

“That point hits home – football is emotional week on week,” he said.

“One point you are the best thing since sliced bread and beat Charlton 4-1, Ipswich 5-2, then you lose against Sunderland, Rotherham, Sheffield Wednesday, Wigan and you are not as good as we thought you were.

“You have to keep a balance. Consistent messaging. I am very upset about the result and who it was against on Saturday but I am more upset with our own performance and that we didn’t do the basics, the things we coach them to do, especially in a derby game.

“The only player for us who played like it was a derby game was MJ Williams, whether it was tackles, physicality, we looked a soft touch and that isn’t us.

“Yes, we are a good football team but one thing we are not is a soft touch. Saturday we were a soft touch.”


Natasha Whittam

Natasha Whittam
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

I'd pick Frank head of anyone involved at the weekend.


Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Very Happy

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