IAN Evatt has spoken out against the “disgusting” online abuse suffered by his player Elias Kachunga since Tuesday night’s game against Forest Green.

The former Sheffield Wednesday attacker was involved in a mix-up which saw team-mate Dion Charles sent off after he lashed out at opposing defender Brandon Cooper.

The Football Association yesterday transferred the three-match ban to Kachunga, who also issued a message of apology to the Bolton fans on social media.

But Evatt, whose side go to Charlton Athletic on Saturday (12.30pm kick-off), has slammed some of the online comments which were aimed at him in the past few days.

“He is really sorry for his actions, it is very much out of character for him and he knows that he let everybody down,” he said.

“But the second part to it – and one I think we need to speak about – is that footballers are human beings and when they step out on the grass you don’t know what is going on in their personal lives. Sometimes even I don’t know what is going on because they will keep things from you.

“Kacha has had a bit of upset in his personal family life that he shared with me post-Tuesday but the tirade of abuse he has received online, the vile diatribe, is just disgusting, to be honest.

“It has really upset him. And this day and age, with mental health, we need to think about what we are doing.”

Kachunga has struggled to win over many supporters this season with his goal record coming in for scrutiny in some quarters since his arrival at Bolton last August.

Evatt feels that some comments have gone way beyond the footballing sphere.

“Criticism, professionally, is fine. We put ourselves there every day to be criticised,” he said.

“Football is a subjective game and everyone has an opinion.

“But when that oversteps the mark, and becomes personal, it can be very upsetting. I have had to console him today because he has been very upset. We will support him, rally around him, and make sure that he gets all the help and support he needs.”

Evatt also said he bore no grudge against the officials on the night, in particular linesman Darren Williams, who identifed the wrong player in the first half, communicating the information to referee Tom Nield.

“It doesn’t just go for Kachunga – it goes for the linesman as well,” he said. “He was very upset because he knew he had made a real balls-up and it doesn’t help that it has been shown everywhere, on TV screens, Sky, and then the court of social media comes and some people take their opinion too far and it becomes abusive. We’re all human beings here – constructive criticism is fine – but when it becomes personal it can affect people’s mental health.

“That isn’t just me protecting Kacha, and he needs protection, but also the linesman as well faced a tirade of abuse.

“We all make mistakes and unfortunately for us we’re in an industry which is analysed like a fishbowl. But let’s be careful and take care of each other.”