Evatt | Right Now It Has To Hurt

Evatt touchline Wigan

Ian Evatt admitted another derby defeat ‘had to hurt’ but called on everyone at Wanderers to pull together to resume a promotion push, writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites dominated at the DW Stadium but were stung by a second-half strike from substitute Stephen Humphrys as Wigan secured a 1-0 win to complete a League One double over Wanderers.

The result made it back-to-back away defeats in a tough four days for Evatt’s men who again missed out on the chance to move into automatic promotion places.

But Derby County’s second successive loss means Wanderers remain outside the top two only on goal difference with a game in hand on the Rams and Evatt believes a collective effort can pull his side through with a dozen games to go in the League One promotion race.

“We've got 12 games left. We're no worse off again and if this is our sticky patch then we have to ride it out,” insisted the Wanderers’ boss.

“It's not about imploding and panicking. It's about staying calm, staying composed and focusing on what we need to do to get wins to get us out of this league.

“This is the first time we've really completely dominated Wigan and we've lost the game. We have to take our medicine and I'm so disappointed for our fans because we really wanted to do it for them and put it right for them.

“It's not about imploding and panicking. It's about staying calm, staying composed and focusing on what we need to do to get wins to get us out of this league."
Ian Evatt

“But if we play like that we'll be okay and if we manage to get ourselves out of this league I'm sure they'll forgive us for the last few days.

“Right now it has to hurt and it does. It really hurts us all. We've really got to rally, get our heads down and work even harder and on Saturday make the Toughsheet as loud as we possibly can and get it rocking and support the players stick and together as a football club, because it's in the tough times that really counts.

“We're having a tough time at the moment and we've said before it's how we manage the dark spells that really count and at the minute we're in a dark spell.”

The statistics underlined Wanderers’ dominance, with 70 per cent possession over the 90 minutes, along with 13 shots to Wigan’s six and nine corners to the hosts’ none.

However, the Whites – who lost Carlos Mendes Gomes with a suspected ruptured Achilles tendon – couldn’t make their territory pay and show enough of a cutting edge against a packed defence to avoid a second successive league loss for only the second time this season.

“I’m the first one to criticise the players when we haven't performed,” added Evatt, whose side needs to hit back at home to Cambridge United next Saturday. “We didn't perform to our level on Saturday (at Blackpool) regardless of any decisions and we got beat.

“Tonight, I thought we performed really well, dominated the game and didn't get what we deserved. The fans were excellent. They deserved more and we deserved more tonight. Sometimes it's challenging. Football is tough. It will love you and hate you and at the minute it feels like it's hating us.

“All we can do is focus on ourselves and focus on that level of performance. I'm baffled that we've managed to lose that game with the way that we've performed. But if we play like that, I genuinely believe we will be okay.”

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

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