‘Atmosphere was exactly what I wanted’ – Evatt thanks fans for Oxford backing

The Bolton boss had called on home supporters to create an “intimidating” atmosphere to gee up his players, who were potentially nursing some wounded pride after dropped points against Exeter City and Barnsley.

On several occasions the Wanderers players took it upon themselves to cheerlead too – helping to foster a partisan feel around the Toughsheet Stadium which froze Oxford in their tracks.

“We have talked about that – looked at some of the Premier League stadia that create the most intense and intimidating atmospheres and Anfield and St James’s are probably two of the best of them,” Evatt told The Bolton News.

“I think it is the players’ responsibility to get the fans off their seats, and that can be with a big tackle, or even some cheerleading. There is nothing wrong with that, we are in it together.

“The atmosphere I asked for before the game was exactly what I got out there.

“I keep using that word togetherness but nothing can be achieved without being together.

“When the fans back the players like they did tonight it gives them confidence and belief and to play the way we want to play it does take trust, confidence and belief. This is a collective effort for everybody, and the fans are a huge part of that.”

Wanderers led 2-0 at the half time break but given the problems they had experienced at the weekend at Exeter City, there was still an air of concern among home supporters that the lead could be a fragile one.

Evatt felt an immediate change in the mood among his players and was never concerned there would be a repeat of the slump at St James Park.

“I just sensed the difference from the minute I walked into the changing room at half time,” he said. “We gave them a few bits of information, a couple of video clips that they needed to look at to see where the space was and how we needed to slightly alter our press.

“Obviously they changed to 3-5-2 and we recognised that really quickly. But there was just a real aggression and focus from them, they didn’t want the same thing to happen again.

“I know this group really well and I know when they are coming into form. And I have sensed that the last few weeks. I know we have probably not got the points that we wanted or warranted but I feel like it is growing again.

“This is a collective effort, a collective responsibility to attack and defend. Clean sheets are celebrated by everybody, goals should be scored by everybody, and that is the ethos we have, and the players have really taken to it.”

Wanderers go to Derby County at the weekend knowing a win could send them above the Rams into second – but that even a draw would keep them very much in the hunt for an automatic promotion spot.

Evatt hopes to have Dion Charles and Nathan Baxter back in action after the international break but are still waiting for the all-clear from the specialists in both cases.

Seven games remain after Pride Park, which the Bolton boss believes will give his side ample time to make the final push for a top two spot.

“There is one big game to go on Saturday and then I hope we will get a few bodies back, which will strengthen the squad again and we can really attack the run-in,” he said.

“We have got some good games in that run-in, there are back-to-back away games but after that we have some good home fixtures, and we just need to be in it. That starts Saturday.”

Latest news
Related news