IAN Evatt has heaped high praise on captain Ricardo Santos after his performance against Plymouth Argyle.

The centre-back kept Pilgrims danger men Ryan Hardie and Niall Ennis quiet for the vast majority of a tense game at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Asked how he rated Santos’s display, Evatt – who hopes to convince the player to extend his contract this summer – believes he is the best around.

“For me Rico is the best defender in the league,” he said. “I think you will struggle to see anybody as good as him outside of the Premier League and that’s how highly I rate him.

“He is our captain, he is our leader. The attributes he has are hard to find. We think the world of him and he is a top player.”

Evatt also had words of praise for his opposite number at Plymouth, Steven Schumacher, who has kept the Devon club at the top end of the division after Ryan Lowe’s departure to Preston North End.

“I think he (Schumacher) and I see the game and speak about it, and sometimes managers can go into self-preservation mode after a game, say we deserved to win or had better chances,” he said.

“But I think we call it how we see it. I have been honest and thought we deserved to win the game but we didn’t and that is credit to Steven and what I think is a really good team.

“I think they are really well coached. He took over from Ryan (Lowe) really, really well, they’re well organised, they have set patterns, they hurt you and cause you problems, but today we contained them really well, other than the set play, and one or two moments, and we had enough opportunities to win probably two or three games, we just didn’t take them.”