Evatt calls for greater focus from Wanderers as Wembley final beckons

Players returned to the training ground this morning for a debrief on Tuesday night’s semi-final second leg against Barnsley.

The match itself proved an uncomfortable affair as two second-half goals for the visitors brought the aggregate scoreline back to 5-4, and to within a whisker of extra time.

Wanderers held on under heavy late pressure to book their place in the final, to be joined by Oxford United 24 hours later after a 2-1 aggregate win against Peterborough United.

Evatt was pleased with the control his team had exerted for most of the first game at Oakwell and up to the 64th minute when Adam Phillips brought Barnsley level on Tuesday night.

But the individual lapses in concentration which gave the Yorkshiremen a sniff of hope are issues he hopes to solve over the next week, knowing the May 18 showpiece will be Bolton’s final shot at playing Championship football next season.

“If we perform like we did in the first 60-70 minutes we will be absolutely fine,” Evatt told The Bolton News. “And we mustn’t lose the context of that.

“It is the mistake, the manner of it, and the fact there was no need to take a risk at that point of the game which then gave them momentum. Of course, then, they were going to throw everything at us, and we just had to dig in and hope.

“The same thing happened in the first game. One error and there is suddenly a doubt in a game we have completely controlled.

“Overall, in terms of the two legs, I can take positives from the way we handled ourselves, but we need to remain focussed and a bit more professional in how we see the game out.

“We were so confident and playing so well, it probably spilled into a little bit of over-confidence and that cost us and changed the whole mood.

“But the players did it, we managed it, we are now one game away from where we want to be, and over the two legs I think we deserved to beat Barnsley. Over long spells of both games we dominated, so now it is about preparing.”

Although TV cameras picked up scenes of the Wanderers players celebrating after the final whistle, Evatt and his staff turned their minds immediately to Wembley.

Players were given a couple of days to recover from the Barnsley game but the Bolton boss is now asking for one more push in what will be their 61st game of the campaign.

“After the final whistle my mindset wasn’t on celebration, it is purely on winning one more game,” he said.

“There was probably a bit of relief for the players and for the fans at the end there because we have worked hard over the course of the season, and over the course of these two games, to get to a point where we’re one game away from our goal.

“I told the players what I thought of the performance, I told them the truth. Their ears might have been ringing a little bit but they have to understand that we needed to make that more comfortable for everyone.

“We didn’t and that is our fault, but I think for large parts of that game we played really well.”

Latest news
Related news