Bolton showed exactly what they are capable of in Trophy win – Ian Evatt

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Ian Evatt felt “re-energised” Bolton’s thumping Papa John’s Trophy final victory against Plymouth showed exactly what his side are capable of.

Wanderers eased past League One title-chasers Plymouth 4-0 thanks to two early goals from Kyle Dempsey and Dion Charles and second-half efforts from Elias Kachunga and Gethin Jones.

Boss Evatt said: “I’m really proud of the players to perform like that on a big stage.

“It’s incredible, they are certainly capable and it’s a great credit to them to play with that freedom in a high-pressure game.

“We always want to start fast. The last couple of weeks I’ve really felt the group re-energised.

“The last two or three weeks the training has gone back to where I expected it to be. The standard has improved, the energy has improved and I think today has shown exactly what we’re capable of when we put it all together.

“It’s difficult to play like that because we’re not direct, we’re not physical. Although we scored from two set pieces today it’s not normally our natural strength, but what we are is a very exciting team to watch.

“The games sometimes are very open, we give up chances, we know that, but we back ourselves to take the chances that we create and we managed to do that today. Some of our play and bravery in possession was outstanding.

“We’ve suffered against some of the top teams, we’ve lost out in the big moments, but today was the first time where we smelt blood and took the moments, took the chances and then grew even more from that and gained confidence.”

The Bolton boss admitted the high of their Wembley win could challenge him to retain the focus of his players for the remaining eight games of their League One campaign.

Bolton sit fifth, level on points with Peterborough and Derby as they target a play-off spot.

Evatt said: “It’s going to be hard to get the players back down to earth again and to refocus, but we’re going to work tirelessly hard to make sure we do.

“Days like today are addictive and we have an opportunity to get back here in May, but firstly we have to work very hard over the next eight league games to make sure we’re in the play-offs.”

Bolton landed a first piece of silverware since 2004 and highlights the journey the club has been on since their revival after entering administration in 2019.

Evatt embraced chairman Sharon Brittan before the trophy lift and hailed the club’s turnaround under her ownership group.

“I said she should be really proud of what she has achieved and the rest of the ownership group. They took this club on when it almost ceased to exist any more,” he said.

“They’ve rebuilt it from top to bottom.

“They’ve acted with such dignity, professionalism and honesty, not just in the football department but in the community, the town, and when that much hard work goes in to rebuilding a football club that was completely broken you deserve days like this.

“She certainly deserves days like this, as do the rest of the ownership group. They’ve been absolutely brilliant.”

Below-par Plymouth rarely threatened in a one-sided game, and manager Steven Schumacher said: “I’m obviously devastated with the outcome.

“I think congratulations is due to Bolton Wanderers. I think they were the better team and deserved to win the game.

“We also want to apologise to our fans who didn’t want that to go like that.

“After the start to the game we had – 10 minutes in, 2-0 down from our own doing really, giving the ball away in two poor areas and they got punished.”

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