Bolton Wanderers boss responds to claims of premature promotion party as Oxford United join Portsmouth in Championship

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Ian Evatt dismissed the suggestion complacency crept in as Bolton capitulated in the League One play-off final.

The floored Wanderers boss is adamant his team didn’t get ahead of themselves following celebrations after their semi-final victory over Barnsley.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Pompey’s promotion rivals were woeful, as they failed to register a shot on target in their 2-0 defeat to Oxford at Wembley.

There were exuberant scenes at the Toughsheet Stadium against Barnsley, as fans invaded the pitch and players could be seen celebrating and drinking as they progressed.

That reaction was criticised in some sections, but Evatt was insistent that didn’t have a bearing on their timid performance against the U’s.

Evatt told Sky Sports: ‘I didn’t really like the comments after the second leg and we made it through.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘Every time I see play-off games I see pitch invasions and see people excited to get to Wembley.

‘I don’t think anyone thought we’d achieved anything, so I don’t like those comments. I thought they were harsh and unfair.

‘Today I don’t think there was complacency, I don’t think there was any of that.

‘Maybe there was a fear and sometimes fear stops you. It certainly stopped us today, we were unrecognisable.’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Evatt was at a loss to explain Bolton’s final display, but detected fear among his players as they put in a weak performance.

He added: ‘I can’t really (explain the performance). Now is not the time to get into too much detail, but that was unrecognisable from us.

‘We look at our best when we’re fast, intense, aggressive and energetic. We show quality with the ball, but from minute one it wasn’t there.

‘Was it the occasion, the pressure? I don’t know but that was not acceptable for our level.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘We were unrecognisable and I just want to apologise to our supporters who came here and witnessed probably our worst performance of the season.

‘I think the Trophy game (they won at Wembley last year) is a different pressure to this one.

‘I don’t think we handled the game well at all on the pitch.

‘The game looked exactly as we thought it would and great credit to them, they were excellent.

‘They nullified our threats and looked dangerous in transition. Exactly what we thought and how the game would be. We looked slow, lethargic and once paced - that’s not us as a team.’

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.