IAN Evatt insists Wanderers’ mass rebuild will pay off despite watching his side slip to defeat at home to Forest Green on the opening day of the League Two season.

After two cup losses against Bradford and Crewe, the new head coach was hoping for a reaction from his side with points at stake at the University of Bolton Stadium.

But the Whites turned in arguably the flattest performance of the lot as Carl Winchester’s strike shortly after half time handed Mark Cooper’s side victory in the two clubs’ first-ever meeting.

Wanderers had chances – Eoin Doyle firing wide early on after getting through on goal, Ali Crawford having a curling shot pushed away by Luke McGee and Liam Gordon firing over late on after arriving on to Gethin Jones’ cross.

But equally they lacked forward momentum for long spells, leaving Evatt to reflect on another frustrating afternoon.

“It feels like Groundhog Day,” he said. “First 25 minutes we started the game really well, we were on top, we missed a glaring opportunity with Eoin Doyle.

“We came in at half time and spoke about a few things, one of which was not conceding free kicks around the penalty box, which we’d done too much of in the first half.

“Fifty-six per cent of goals in League Two come from set pieces, so you can’t keep giving your opponent the opportunity to put the ball in your box.

“Almost straight away, free kick outside the box, and the way things are going at the moment his shot from 25 yards away shoots between body, hits the post and goes into the back of the net.

“Goals change games, it’s a cliché. And it takes us 15-20 minutes to get it out of our system.

“We huffed and puffed at the end. Ali Crawford had a good shot, good save, and then Liam (Gordon) almost gets one at the back stick – but we didn’t do enough in the second half.”

Evatt does not believe his side were “outplayed” at any stage by Forest Green but admitted there would be a certain amount of soul-searching done over the weekend.

“We have got a lot of work to do,” he said. “We’re nowhere near where we want to be.

“We have to go home, self-analyse and ask what we can do better?

“That is part of football. I don’t think we’re far away, we’re not really getting outplayed and I don’t think Billy (Crellin) has had a save to make. We defended our box at times and had to make a few blocks but that’s the game.

“Their keeper has worked harder than our but – again – we have conceded a poor goal.”

Asked if he expected more from the group of players he signed over the summer, the head coach added: “I always expect more,” he said. “But that’s me as a character and a person, I always want to win, but I have to be a realist too and know that for too long this club has been used to losing football matches. It’s a culture that needs to change.

“And also we have 17-18 new players – and I won’t make that an excuse, it’s nonsense, I hate making excuses – but it’s common sense to know it won’t be fluid Brazil first week.

“We have to be patient, we have to believe in the process and things will change. We have some very good players and the way we work is good too.

“Sooner rather than later it will turn. We just need to knuckle down on the finer details.”