25 November 2023

Ian Evatt delighted with Bolton’s form but says more hard work is to come

25 November 2023

Brilliant Bolton handed Exeter their heaviest league defeat for 65 years, but boss Ian Evatt insisted: “The hard work starts here.”

Top scorer Dion Charles bagged a second-half brace in Wanderers’ biggest win since March 1997 – a defeat under pressure Grecians chief Gary Caldwell described as “embarrassing.”

Victory also lifted the Trotters to the League One summit though Evatt refused to get carried away.

“We have finally got to top spot but things only get harder from here,” he said. “We need to go again and step up again.

“We are nowhere near the finished article. There are lots of things to improve on.

“It feels good (being top) but it will only feel really good at the end of this season. We have done nothing yet.

“It’s not about being top in November it’s about finishing top in April.”

Despite playing down the magnitude of Wanderers’ eighth successive win in all competitions Evatt added: “This is the best group I have worked with as a manager professionally as well as personally.

“The togetherness is exceptional. We have always been wanting to do that and everyone has seen we are capable.

“But to go ahead and do it is something we are pleased about. Once we found our rhythm some of the football was scintillating.”

Bolton took 34 minutes to break down Exeter but Jack Iredale and Victor Adeboyejo then scored before the break.

However, the floodgates opened in the second half. Paris Maghoma made it 3-0, Northern Ireland international Charles netted twice in 11 minutes before substitutes Dan Nlundulu and Kyle Dempsey rounded off the Trotters highest win of the Millennium.

Exeter boss Caldwell received a midweek vote of confidence but admitted: “We have to take what is coming.

“I have had great dialogue with board. They know the long-term plan we have. We are in a difficult moment and we have to stay strong and stick together.

“That is the whole football club: the board, the supporters, staff and players

“We know what we are doing moving forward. But in the short-term we have to win a game of football. Hopefully, this is rock bottom and we can start to build up.

“I believe in this group of players but they need to stand up in these difficult moments. It was embarrassing. We let the club down and let the supporters down.”

Caldwell, whose side topped League One in September but have also been humiliated 9-0 in the EFL Trophy by Reading, added: “We all have to stand up and be counted in this difficult run. We have had problems scoring goals but for me defensively it is an even bigger worry.

“In every single of defending we have to be so much better.”

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