Evatt puts Bolton's Wembley loss down to 'fear'

Ian Evatt on the touchline at Wembley
Ian Evatt led Bolton Wanderers to third position in the League One table this term [Rex Features]

Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt says he can only put their League One play-off final defeat by Oxford United down to "pressure and fear".

Evatt's side finished the season in third position and had only narrowly missed out on automatic promotion to Derby County on the final day of the season.

Yet they were well beaten by Josh Murphy's double at Wembley and even failed to register a shot on target in a tepid 90 minutes.

"For us we were unrecognisable. We're normally a fast, energetic team, today we were the opposite of that from minute one," Evatt told BBC Sport.

"I think there's that much wrong that it's hard to point the finger at one particular thing.

"It wasn't in moments or spells it was all game and it was all [on] everybody which I can only put down to pressure and fear maybe, and mentally I don't think we were tough enough or strong enough today."

Evatt has transformed Bolton's fortunes since his arrival off the back of the club's double relegation between the Championship and League Two.

He led them back to the third tier at the first attempt but their chastening loss on Saturday meant they have now failed to win promotion in the past two consecutive seasons through the play-offs.

"There was so much wrong with that performance that there will be a lot of soul searching to be done," he added.

"In football it's easy to deflect and blame, there's always self preservation but for me you have to be up front and honest with yourself to improve.

"This now has to be seen as failure. There's no other way of saying it. You can't sugarcoat it."