IAN Evatt does not want Wanderers to be known simply for playing pretty football this season.

The head coach gathered his defenders together at Lostock yesterday to issue a stern reminder of what is expected of them, following a couple of below-par performances.

Evatt feels his team lacked an edge in defeat on Saturday against Bradford in the Carabao Cup, following on from a lacklustre second half in the friendly against Crewe.

The Railwaymen are in town again tonight in the EFL Trophy, where Evatt has challenged those involved to stake a claim for a starting place against Forest Green in this weekend’s League Two curtain raiser.

And with words aimed specifically at his defensive unit that the Bolton boss demanded improvement in his pre-match press conference.

“We have to stop giving away poor goals – and we’ve had this meeting with the defenders today,” he said. “We have to understand that first and foremost they are defenders and they have to defend the goal with their lives. It’s great we’re asking them to build attacks and play but they are going to be judged on clean sheets.

“If we do that in this division we will win games because we have some serious firepower and we will score goals.

“If they can play as well it’s an added extra. And it’s why we’ve recruited the players we have because we feel they can do both.

“That will determine the level you can play at. If you can defend and play football then it should mean you have the ability to play in the Championship or the Premier League.

“But if you can only do one of the two, just be a good defender. We can deal with the rest. We have good footballers up front and in midfield.

“We can’t give the opposition a leg up like we did on Saturday.”

Evatt has recruited players he feels are capable of playing out from the back – but pointed to Arsene Wenger’s great Arsenal side of 2003/4 as an example of how the best teams can mix up their approach.

“The Invincibles were all over six foot, were great with the ball, but they could defend, put their body in where it hurts and win tackles,” he said.

“If you can do both then you are going to be some team – and we’ll have to do both at times this season, especially away from home.

“it’s not kicking the ball into the stands because that’s something I am against but in transition you need to lock on to an attacker, see that danger quicker, have a nastier side to you.

“We’re a great bunch of lads but for 90 minutes I want us to be horrible.

“I want us to be attractive and expansive in possession but I want us to get in people’s faces, win tackles, know they are in a match.

“Then in the final third I want us to be positive, to try things because we can afford to lose the ball there. On Saturday we went safe.”