IAN Evatt described Wanderers’ 4-0 defeat against Wigan Athletic as a “kick in the nuts” but hopes it can act as a motivational tool for his players.

The Bolton boss admitted his players were out-fought by their near neighbours on Saturday lunchtime as they lost their 100 per cent league record in spectacular fashion.

Two goals apiece for Charlie Wyke and Stephen Humphrys were enough to put Wigan back into positive equity, having started the season on minus eight points.

Evatt said he could not have predicted such a limp display.

“We are thorough and we give the players a lot of detail but sometimes it is just blood, sweat and tears. I don’t think we played with that in the first 20 minutes of the game, we just didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to win,” he said.

“I could see, physically, that we were struggling to cope with the pressure they were putting on our build phase but at that stage it was 2-0 and difficult to recover from.

“If we had managed that spell better and been a little more pragmatic, eventually we would have broken them, become more fatigued and we could have started to take advantage.

“Instead, every time we went forward they defended the box with their lives and every time they went forward we didn’t replicate that.

“There were some disappointing performances but football always has a way of kicking you in the nuts when you think you have cracked it and today we have been well and truly kicked in them.”

Dion Charles was suspended for the game after controversially picking up two yellow cards against Fleetwood in midweek – a decision which also landed Evatt in hot water when he confronted the fourth official after watching a replay.

The manager was given a fine by the FA but had his suspension reprieved. There was no recourse to appeal Charles’s yellow, however, and Dan Nlundulu was picked to partner Victor Adeboyejo up front.

“It is obviously a clear frustration of mine and we can, and will, all look back on the events of Tuesday night and the impact that had on the team, playing an extra 30-35 minutes with 10 men. Losing our star striker, who in-possession helps us so much, but out of possession is a key part of the way we press,” Evatt said.

“We feel hard done to but we can’t make excuses. There were opportunities today to step up but we just haven’t done, so back to the drawing board, so to speak, and we will work hard to put things right against Burton.

“If you look at the stats - and there’s only one that matters, we lost 4-0 – but we had 20 shots and four of them were on target. We had 65-66 per cent possession of the ball and we have to make that pay. We just lost out on every moment.

“Every time we got into the final third and created an opportunity we didn’t take it but every time they went near our box they took their chances.

“It is something we didn’t see coming but maybe being humbled this early in the season can be a positive and we can recover from this and make sure it never happens again.”