Ian Evatt reckons his players got their reward for playing with “freedom” during their 4-0 win against Plymouth in the Papa Johns Trophy final.

The Whites lifted the trophy following an emphatic display at Wembley, with Kyle Dempsey, Dion Charles, Elias Kachunga and Gethin Jones all on target.

Despite the pressure of playing in front of nearly 80,000 people, Evatt’s men took the game to their opponents from virtually the first whistle.

The Bolton boss said: “It is hard to (sum up the emotion). I am really proud of the players, to perform like that on a big stage us incredible.

“They are certainly capable and I think it is great credit to them to play with that freedom in a huge high pressure game. I am delighted.

“It was an amazing atmosphere. Both clubs selling the tickets they did is great credit to the club they are and the competition it is. Hopefully, we did it justice with our performance today.”

He added: “We always want to start fast. The last couple of weeks, I have really felt the group re-energise. We had eight or nine games in February and at the end of it we were so fatigued.

“There were some long journeys in there and some big games. They needed a break and a reset, and that is probably why we had that little dip. But the last two or three weeks, training has gone back to where I expect it to be.

“The standards have improved, the energy has improved. I think today, we have just come and shown exactly what we are capable of when we put it all together.”

The club looks very different to when Evatt took charge back in 2020, and the boss is delighted they could give the fans an occasion to remember.

“I am so proud that we have managed to do it for them because they have been through so much the last few years,” he explained.

“They almost lost their football club, there was a disconnect between the town and the football club.

“Most football clubs are the heartbeat of their community and when the club is doing well, the rest of the community thrives.

“I think what I have seen the last couple of years and the way the fans backed the team today, there is a real connection again.

“There is a trust, a belief and an honesty about us. The fans have really bought into it and I am so proud of the football club.”

The only sour note for Wanderers was an injury to Eoin Toal, who was wearing a protective boot as he celebrated on the pitch after the final whistle.

When asked about the injury, Evatt said: “I don’t know but it doesn’t look great. His ankle ligament looks damaged.

“It was an awful tackle and there was no need for it at that stage of the game. Hopefully, he will recover well.”