IAN Evatt said Wanderers were let down by the “basics” in a dire 4-0 home defeat to Wigan Athletic.

The Bolton boss reckoned his players lacked the spark needed in a local derby, which was settled with two goals apiece for Charlie Wyke and Stephen Humphrys.

Appearing long after the final whistle, following a frank discussion with the players in the dressing room, Evatt said he and his players must accept the criticism that is heading their way.

“There is an awful lot to take in,” he said. “We can all be honest enough to say we didn’t see it coming.

“I just think it was one of those games where we lost every moment, every duel, every transition, just the basics in football. We lost them, they won.

“The ball ricocheted to them and not us, and I am a firm believer that you make your own luck. On the day they played like it was a derby but we played like we were going to come and have it all our own way, as we had in the last three games.

“For the first time someone punched us on the jaw and we just didn’t recover.”

Wigan beat Bolton 4-0 on their previous visit to the stadium in October 2021 and even though they had less possession and fewer shots on goal than Bolton on this occasion, they were still well worth the three points.

Asked about the comparison between the two games, he said: “I think it is really important that we separate certain things. The word performance is a general one, and it was not a 4-0 game. They punished us on every moment.

“The last time we lost 4-0 here was a completely different type of game to the one today.

“Conceding from a set piece after 10 minutes is not acceptable, it rocked us and we didn’t recover.

“Every time it looked like we were going to recover and build momentum we got punched on the jaw again and it was back to square one.

“It really hurts and I have learned a lot today. Mentally, we need to improve, especially where we want to compete in the table.

“Now we have a chance to react and go again. We need to make sure this result doesn’t define our season and that sounds crazy to say after four games but we have to respond in the right way, the manner I know we are capable of doing.”

Evatt had talked before the game about needing “emotion” in a local clash but admitted his players looked too laid back in the opening exchanges.

“Everyone now will look for a way out and look for excuses,” he said. “It would be easy for me to sit here and do that. But there are none. The facts are that we were not good enough on the day and we didn’t get to the level I know we are capable of getting to.

“The thing that hurts the most is before you talk about technical details or tactics, or how we impose ourselves on the opposition, we didn’t do the basics well enough. And for my team, and the way we want to do things that is unacceptable.

“I felt like we played the game at our speed and thought they would allow us to do whatever we want to do. This is the first team that has had a go back, we had to take a dig, and we didn’t get up.

“When we started to build momentum we got another sucker punch and the game was gone before we knew it.”