IAN Evatt says he knew the promotion-winning performance at Crawley was coming, just 48 hours after the defeat against Exeter.

The Bolton boss saw his side clinch a top three spot with a superb display on Saturday – completing a remarkable second half of the season, which saw the club rocket from 20th in the table in the space of just three months.

Both players and manager were greeted with joyous scenes outside the club’s hotel when they returned to the North West in the small hours of the morning – a far cry from the anger and disappointment that had been so evident a week earlier.

Evatt reckons the response from his players was clear to see on the training ground in the build up to the game.

“We just had an insatiable desire to not let that happen again,” he said of the Exeter defeat. “We all felt it last week and we were all deeply hurt. We made mistakes, no doubt about it, but from 9am on Monday morning I knew that performance was coming.

“It’s easy saying that in hindsight but I genuinely did. Their attitude and application, the determination to get this job done was incredible, they deserve all the credit they are going to get.”

Wanderers knew they had to win on Saturday to ensure promotion – and in the end Morecambe’s victory against Bradford made sure there was no margin for error.

“It was a great performance under pressure,” Evatt said. “In the circumstances as well, you have to remember that everyone else won, so it feels even better. We did it off our own backs and got the victory we needed. “Look, from the first whistle today we were aggressive with our play, our passing, our running, and we deserved to win comfortably, which we did.”

The job of turning Bolton around after such a poor first half of the season was not straightforward, with Evatt and his players coming in for major criticism pre-Christmas from large sections of the support.

“Absolutely not,” the manager said. “There are only people within the club circle – players, family – that really know how hard at times this season has been and what a big, big job it was.

“We have not let anyone down. We have built trust, connection with the fans as well. This is just the start.”