IAN Evatt doesn’t care if people ridicule him for saying he can take Bolton Wanderers to the very top.

In these days of social media soundbites, something a manager says 10 minutes after the final whistle can be bouncing its way around the globe before he has chance to board the team bus.

Nobody knows that better than Evatt, who in 18 months at the UniBol has fuelled more than one post-match phone-in with the content of his interviews in the local press.

A run of one win in seven games – including four straight defeats – has certainly given Evatt’s critics something to work with, and he goes into this afternoon’s game against Ipswich Town knowing a win is long overdue.

But the Bolton boss is trying to filter out the noise as he undergoes his January mini-rebuild and is convinced that his new recruits will bring with them an upturn in form.

“Football is an amazing game, everyone has an opinion,” he told The Bolton News.

“But football management is not easy, let me tell you. I hear people say ‘I’d love to have his job’ but trust me, you wouldn’t, sometimes.

“The matchday stuff is simple, it is everything else that becomes a challenge and difficult.

“I am a very confident lad and I’d like to think I have built enough credit in the bank over the last two seasons, and what I have achieved, to say I know what I am doing.

“I do know what is required, I do know we’re in a transitional period and that it has been rough for the last few months. I also know where this club is heading.

“Now people will laugh at me, they will say this or that, but I believe this club will be in the Premier League within the next five years.

“The proof is in the pudding. I have to go and do it. For the here and now I need to keep my own counsel, my own self-belief and try and give people more action than words.

“We are bringing in new players because we know this is the time to recruit positively. These players will make a difference and we have seen already with Dion Charles and Marlon Fossey, they are good players. We’ll see Aaron Morley this weekend and then hopefully have a couple more in as well as James Trafford by the end of the window.

“By that stage I genuinely believe we will be a completely different team, one which starts to function again and picks up results consistently.”

No soundbite has been used to beat him around the head quite like the one he uttered on the touchline in October after a narrow defeat against Sheffield Wednesday.

“I think we’re the best team in the league,” he told us at Hillsborough. “People will say that’s arrogance, that’s overconfidence, but on performances I believe we’re the best team in the league.”

At the time, Bolton were eighth and playing some fine football. Though some chose to ignore that he was voicing an opinion, rather than fact, and that his comment was aimed squarely at his own players for motivational purposes, it is fair to say the statement gradually looked more outlandish as the Whites slipped down the table.

But did he regret saying it?

“No, no I don’t,” he smiled. “I said the same thing last year and Jeff Stelling and all the Soccer Saturday lot laugh and joke, but we ended up getting promoted.

“I am not saying that will definitely happen this season but there is context to it, we were talking about performances. It wasn’t just my opinion at the time – if you spoke to Darren Moore after the Sheffield Wednesday game, or after we’d gone to Sunderland and annihilated them but lost the game 1-0. Performance-wise, I believed we were playing as well as anyone.

“I know that doesn’t necessarily mean you get results. We didn’t then and we haven’t got them now but if you don’t believe you are the best and can be the best then I don’t think there is a point in turning up in the first place.

“A lot of the things I say are for the benefit of the club and the players. The way we play, how brave you have to be, they need the self-belief and the air of arrogance and invincibility, and if I can help that with some of the press I do, I’m happy to take all the criticism in the world.

“You can all laugh at me for saying we are the best team in the league, away fans can sing it, because I know eventually, we will be. I know that.

“You can say what you want about arrogance, confidence or ego. You can say I don’t listen to anyone else – well I don’t.

“I trust and believe in myself and I know where this club is going.”

One fact nobody can dispute is that Wanderers were playing well when they last faced Ipswich at Portman Road.

A 5-2 win could have been even more comfortable, with the second-half performance arguable as good as Bolton have looked in Evatt’s time in charge.

Rather ironically, he would take any type of display at the UniBol today just so long as it arrested the bad run of results in front of a home crowd which has been bristling with frustration of late.

“We have had some real high points and a lot of low points so far this season and we’re only halfway through. Ipswich feels like forever ago,” he said.

“It was a wonderful performance and this is what those players are capable of doing.

“We are a different team. We are functioning differently at the moment but that is down to confidence, we have only really got the same players and are recruiting better ones, I believe.

“We will get back to that but, for now, I want to break the cycle and get back to winning games no matter how it happens.

“No matter what it takes, we have to find a way to get a result on Saturday.”