THERE had been no portent of the flat performance Wanderers produced at FC United in their previous two pre-season outings, not that it provided Ian Evatt with any solace.

The Bolton boss made little secret of his discontent throughout the 90 minutes at the Broadhurst Stadium and had certainly not cheered up by the time he talked to the local press after the final whistle.

It was a pre-season fixture, and one in which his side had drawn level with a late George Johnston header, but that did not spare the away dressing room on a sweltering day in north-east Manchester.

“One thing I always am with them is honest and when they deserve praise, they get praise and when they deserve a telling off, they get a telling off,” he told The Bolton News.

”There are no grey areas. They know exactly where they stand, and they know themselves that this is not acceptable.

“Our standards are better than that. We have set higher standards than that, but fortunately for us it’s today and we haven’t lost. However, I feel for FC United because I thought they deserved to win.”

Evatt saw no signs on the training ground that a poor performance was on its way but he picked up on the day that his side had expected an easier ride than they got.

“I think sometimes you come to these games with an attitude that you are just going to rock up and we are going to play really pretty football, they are going to allow us to play pretty football and we have not got to earn the right. We have disrespected the opposition. That won’t happen again.”

Wanderers had rattled in seven goals in the second half of their previous two friendly games but the level of performance did not differ wildly with the two different teams Evatt used on the day.

“For me, they were the first team who actually had a go at us properly and we just didn’t know how to cope with it and didn’t deal with it. We just weren’t aggressive enough, just nowhere near aggressive enough from minute one,” he said.

“Then, the start of the second half, when I’m speaking to the lads at half-time about showing aggression and winning your duels and winning your second balls and then making sure we’re aggressive with our forward running, 10 seconds into the second half we make a really bad mistake and we’re losing the game.

“That deflates everybody, so we just need to learn about our match decisions, time of game, game understanding, recognising what the opposition are doing, recognising where the space is - that can’t always come from the sides and it certainly can’t come from the sides when fans are back in the stadium because they won’t hear us, so they’ve got to figure it out for themselves.”