IAN Evatt believes Wanderers need to work harder to find a “nasty edge” which will enable them to match the most physical sides in League One.

The Whites were found wanting in Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat against Wigan Athletic, which knocked them off top spot in League One.

The result raised yet more questions about the team’s effectiveness against aggressive and direct opposition, such as Burton Albion, the team they face at the Pirelli Stadium this weekend.

But Evatt admits he had some concerns about the players’ mindset even as they made a 100 per cent start, and in the build-up to the Wigan game he tried – unsuccessfully – to gee up the players to make a fast start to the derby.

Speaking to The Bolton News, he said: “I know this group of players better than anyone else, and sometimes the reason I say things to you guys in the press publicly and other stuff behind the scenes is because I know the type of group we have got.

“They are quite a relaxed and confident group and sometimes getting that emotion and passion out of them is quite a difficult thing to do.

“They are really nice lads, an honest bunch of players, but they struggle to drive standards and find that horrible, nasty edge. That goes for the games we have played this season as well because when we have gone 3-0 up we just haven’t had that killer mindset to go again and put teams to the sword.

“I tried to drum that up in them. I wanted to build the game up so that physically and mentally they were ready to challenge in a derby, win duels, first contacts and second balls but we didn’t do any of that.

“It looked to me like we just thought we could turn up, impose our style on them, they would find it difficult to cope and we’d just take over and blow them away. Well, no, it is not that easy. There are times when you are going to get punched on the chin and you have to get up and recover to go again.

“As a group it is something that we need to improve on. I don’t think it is anything technical, tactical or physical, it is between the ears. For us to compete at the top end of this league – which is where everyone intends – we have to improve with that.”

Wanderers will welcome back last season’s top scorer Dion Charles to the team for Burton after a one-game suspension, and Evatt says his absence was felt against the Latics.

“He brings a lot to us when we have the ball, especially the goal threat he carries,” he added. “But also he works so hard out of possession and that has been a big part of our game last season and this season.”