AFTER a summer of rave reviews, Wanderers must not take criticism of their recent performances to heart, says head coach, Ian Evatt.

Before a ball was kicked competitively the mood among Bolton’s supporters was one of mass optimism but a run of three straight defeats in league and cup have grounded a few of the more unrealistic folk expecting promotion from League Two to be a walk in the park.

The reaction to last weekend’s defeat against Forest Green Rovers was fierce, some would say overboard in some quarters, but Evatt believes his players must develop thicker skins to cope.

Wanderers go to last season’s beaten play-off semi-finalists Colchester United on Saturday with Evatt looking to avoid being the first Bolton manager to lose his first four competitive games in charge.

“This is a big football club,” he told The Bolton News. “And we have lost football games here for far too long.

“We started pre-season great and that might have lulled everyone into a false sense of security. Now we have had some iffy results, fans are probably getting a bit twitchy.

“It isn’t all sweetness and light. Life is like that. You have to take criticism on your shoulders and strive to improve. It shouldn’t be personal. Some of it can be, but it’s football and we see it’s only coming from a minority.

“The majority has been positive. The majority understand it will take time but we’ll get there. I am not panicking in any way, shape or form about where we’re at right now.”

Seven EFL clubs will hold test events this weekend to allow 1,000 supporters into the stadia, the first step in what it is hoped will be a phased return for crowds by the end of this year.

And the fact that supporters are watching from behind a laptop or TV screen, rather than in person, could have played a part in reactions to Bolton’s performances and results so far.

“Sometimes because fans are not in the stadium and experiencing that raw emotion, it takes over at home,” Evatt reasoned. “Games are completely different on a TV screen to how they are in real life, with the bigger picture of the game.

“You don’t get the same sense of who is on top, who has had the most possession, you are watching a screen.

“I get it, understand it, and there’s nothing that can be done about it at the moment.

“Since I walked into the building the fans have been really positive. They need to trust me and I am sure they do. We will get it right and we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”

Evatt has praised the reaction from his players on the training ground this week and will take the team for their first away trip of the campaign confident he can put a result on the board.

In order to do so, reasoned the Whites boss, his side have to show a little more resolve if things do not go their own way.

“We’re probably a little short on confidence at the moment and that comes from the results,” he said. “I think we’re being affected by adversity, when teams score against us or we miss chances. It seems to sap energy out of us and we can’t be like that.

“There are going to be times when we miss chances, and teams are allowed to score against you, it’s just what you do after that. I don’t think our reactions have been good enough.

“I don’t think we were great Saturday, however we had the best three chances of the first half – we could have scored with Eoin (Doyle), Reiss (Greenidge’s) header or Sarce (Antoni Sarcevic). They had a shot from 30 yards out, or 27 to be precise, on the half volley which hits two of our defenders, bounces off the post and goes in. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes for you.

“We have done a lot of hard work on the training ground this week and the training has been exceptional, I must say.

“We just need to take that into Saturday.”