Evatt | Fans Deserved Better

Manager reaction Wembley

Ian Evatt apologised to the fans after Wanderers sent them home from Wembley with their promotion hopes over, writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites produced one of their least effective performances of the season to suffer a 2-0 defeat in the League One play-off final.

Josh Murphy struck twice before half-time for Oxford, who cruised to a comfortable victory that saw Evatt’s men miss out on a place in the Championship after their third-place finish had also left them short in the automatic promotion race. 

“First, apologies to our fans,” said the Wanderers’ boss. “We hugely underperformed from minute one. It wasn’t one or two things; it was everything and everyone. 

“What makes us a good team is being fast, being aggressive, energetic and we were the complete opposite today. 


Evatt Sheehan Wembley

“Credit to them, I thought they were excellent. The game was exactly how we thought. They had a mid-block and were hard to press and play through. We didn’t deal with any of the scenarios we worked on. We have to take responsibility for that.

“We’ve only got ourselves to blame. Yes, we had injuries which hurt us but we had chances to go up automatically and we didn’t take them. Then when you’re in the play-offs and underperform, you get beat. 

“Today we underperformed and that includes myself. That really hurts and I’m so sorry to our fans, they deserve better.”

Having won on their last visit to Wembley, Wanderers couldn’t repeat the level of performance from last season’s EFL Trophy win.


Evatt point Wembley

The Whites – backed by an incredible following of 32,000 fans – tried to hit back after half-time but didn’t manage an effort on target on an afternoon of pure frustration which leaves them in League One again next season.

“We’re not here to make excuses,” added an honest Evatt. “We’re here to take responsibility for what was a really poor performance. Credit to Oxford as they deserved to go up on the day. We’re a free-scoring team but today we looked toothless and had no energy or quality. 

“I’ll stand up for us when I think we deserve it but today we deserve any criticism. At the moment, all I can think about is today and how much we underperformed. The future is the future, but today was not good enough. 

“Losing is part of football but it’s hard to cope with the manner of the loss. We haven’t looked anything like ourselves and that’s the hardest thing to take. 

“I just need to apologise to everyone associated with this club as we’ve come a long way to get here and this right now, feels the lowest point so far.”

Watch the manager's full post-match interview on Wanderers TV HERE

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