IAN Evatt says his players have not been mentally strong enough during a winless start to the League Two season, which continued with a 2-0 home defeat to Newport County.

The Whites slumped to 22nd in the table – their lowest-ever league position – thanks to two goals from Tristan Abrahams inside nine sloppy second-half minutes at the UniBol.

Evatt had seen Newport miss a string of opportunities early on but after they finally fell behind Nathan Delfouneso had a goal disallowed for handball, which swung the game.

Wanderers went into their shell and Newport snatched a second to win three points with ease.

The head coach admits few positives could be taken from the performance.

“I don’t think there were many,” he said. “Probably the five minutes after they scored the first goal we showed the most energy and desire we did all day.

“We got the goal and then it’s disallowed and the energy was drained out of us again.

“For the first 20 minutes we rode our luck with set pieces, and we knew they were physically strong from them, and most League Two teams are.

“We didn’t deal with it well enough but we rode the storm, looked like we were taking over the game, then missed two or three chances that should have been goals.

“Same old story, you get to half time and try to lift the players again. Then – again – we concede two poor goals.”

Evatt has become the first Bolton manager ever to lose his first five competitive games in charge, having made sweeping changes in the squad over the summer.

Though there have been obvious teething troubles with the style of play he has looked to implement, he admits more fundamental problems are now starting to arise.

“For me, we are not working hard enough. We are not making our own luck,” he said.

“We are lacking confidence from poor results, 100 per cent, and we need to do more.

“When things are not going right then you have to roll up your sleeves, win tackles, win headers, do the ugly side of the game well. But we’re not doing that either.

“Mentally we’re not doing enough – our mentality is poor at the moment.”

After feeling better about his side’s display in defeat against Colchester last week, Evatt said this result had hit home hard.

And he has pledged to change his team until he finds a winning formula.

“I have to pick players who are going to show me the desire to win – they might not technically be the best players for the system, the shape or the opposition but if they give me 100 per cent desire and commitment, work their nuts off, it might be the best way forward at the moment. We need to stop the rot.

“We are all working hard. On the training pitch we look like Real Madrid but on a matchday we’re not performing like that.

“Last Saturday I was pleased, it was much better, but here it’s back to square one again.

“We’re a bag of Revels. Matchday to matchday I don’t know what we’re going to get.

“One minute we’re the coffee one, next the Malteser, I genuinely don’t know what we’re going to get.

“We have to be more consistent. But first and foremost we have to be mentally stronger.”