Defeat at Derby County did hurt Ian Evatt – but the Bolton boss has played down its significance on Wanderers’ season as a whole.

Having watched the game back – twice – on Sunday, Evatt’s view that his players failed to execute their gameplan properly has not changed since he first delivered his verdict on the touchline at Pride Park.

But while Wanderers’ followers interpreted what such a disappointing performance against a direct play-off rival said of the club’s position in League One, along with their claim as promotion contenders, Evatt said re-watching the game had taken some of the ‘sting’ out of the result.

Asked if expectation was too high, the manager said: “Whether the expectation is unrealistic is not for me to say – but what I will say is that we are trying to do things in the correct manner, which protects the club’s long-term future.

“Also, we have to have some perspective on where we have come from. We were a League Two team less than two years ago. We’re now in the top six of League One, in the semi-final of a cup, and if you look above us there are some big football clubs who have the same expectancy, if not more, to get promoted. They are certainly throwing a lot more money at it – and I must stress, that is not because we haven’t got any, it is because we want to do things differently. We want to be a good model for other clubs to follow, one which is respectful of finance.

“We are respectful of this club’s history and I don’t want to put it at risk ever again.

“I believe we still have the capability to be promoted with that model. That is my belief, it is aligned with the owners, and if you asked most supporters they would want this club’s future to be secured. That is what we are trying to do.

“We are improving, there will be bumps in the road, we will feel deflated at times. But let me tell you this: Derby aren’t miles ahead of us. I really stress, especially people who watched the game live, if you watch it back again with no emotion you’d realise there wasn’t a great deal in it, and that we underperformed on the day.

“If we concentrate on our own performance, what can we achieve? I believe we can achieve a lot.

“When, as a club, you have come from where we have, you’ll get bumps in the road. Saturday was one of them, there is no denying that and we feel frustrated, a bit downhearted, even, but all is not lost. We can still see that end goal.

“We know we can be better but, for now, take the medicine and get ready for Forest Green."