30 December 2023

Bolton boss Ian Evatt celebrates ‘proper away performance’ at Fleetwood

30 December 2023

Bolton boss Ian Evatt was full of admiration for his players after they moved to second in League One with a 2-0 win at Fleetwood.

In swirling winds and driving rain, Evatt hailed his side’s application as they dominated their hosts and took the points with second-half goals by Dion Charles and Victor Adeboyejo.

And the manager could not disguise his delight after Wanderers completed 2023 with three straight wins.

“I’m really proud of the players tonight,” he said. “That was a really professional, clinical performance in awful conditions.

“We always look to the past to judge our journey and how far we’ve come. I think in years gone by we wouldn’t have performed as we did tonight in these conditions.

“We didn’t panic in the first half when we had all the pressure, all the shots and all the domination.

“The goals didn’t go in but at half-time we just spoke about being calm and executing what we’re capable of in the second half and we went out and did that and we kept them at arm’s length in awful conditions, so that’s a proper away performance.

“We’re not always going to have it our own way but what we’ve managed to do is find different ways to win football matches. These conditions tonight are as bad as it gets for football and the way we want to play but I was so proud of the way we went about our business.

“We know what we need to do on nights like these, we know when to build and play and be expansive and we also know when to utilise the front lads, play into good areas and play for territory.

“There’s no right or wrong way to win football matches, it’s all about winning and that’s what we’ve done.”

Fleetwood manager Lee Johnson admitted his side are struggling at present, having not won since mid-November, but he insists they can drag themselves away from trouble in the second half of the season.

“It was a tough game,” he said. “We knew the quality that Bolton have and they’re a well established side that are up there. They’ve had time to build, it’s a good club, an ex-Premier League club, but we felt at half-time that we had a good chance.

“We’d defended ever so well in treacherous conditions and the spirit was good, we’re not affecting boxes anywhere near enough, we know that, and we have to because obviously wins are very important.

“But we came out for the second half believing conditions were in our favour. You’ve got to give credit to Bolton, but in the end we were masters of our own downfall again, with individual errors.

“And that feels a bit like the story of the calendar year for us and if we want to get out of trouble they’re the bits that we have to stop.

“I’m certainly up for the fight. We’ve got 23 games now and we’re going to need a number of wins so the first thing we need to do is stop the individual errors.”

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