IAN Evatt hopes Wanderers’ midweek goal-glut in the EFL Trophy can help his side rediscover their mojo in League One.

After rattling eight past Manchester United’s kids on Tuesday night, the Whites face a challenging run of three games in seven days with a squad stripped bare by injuries and suspensions.

A trip to Port Vale is first up, followed by home games against Stevenage and Carlisle United. And though the Bolton boss and his players have come under heavy fire in some quarters over the last few weeks after dropping to seventh in the table, he believes the free-flowing football they played against the Reds is a positive sign of what is in store.

He told The Bolton News: “People might talk about the opposition but United press intensely, they put pressure on the ball, for me that result was down to the trust and belief that the players had in each other to go and play that type of football. It is as simple as that.

“Being at a big football club like this one, when you get negative results, you are going to get criticised. That is just the way it is.

“I am the leader of this group and I tell them all the time that I am not motivated by people saying I am good. I am motivated by people criticising me and having a pop at us, that’s what really makes me want to improve. The players need to have the same mentality and attitude.

“I believe in them massively, I know where this journey ends up. So we need to keep our head down and keep grinding away and wanting more.”

Defending champions Wanderers have now booked their spot in the knockout stages but now face a quick turnaround against Vale, who have made a strong start to the season, especially on home soil.

Evatt remains in two minds about the draw against Peterborough – maintaining that Gethin Jones’s red card had effectively cost his side all three points – but also pleased with the defensive stability shown with 10 men in the second half. He hopes to marry the latter this weekend at Vale Park with the sort of enterprise his players showed against United.

“It doesn’t matter what opinions we get from elsewhere, we need the opinion in the dressing room that we can perform like that, if we can look after the ball in the right areas and spaces, then we are a really difficult team to play against,” he said.

“It is excellent to see some of the work we do on the training ground coming to life on a matchday and I want to see it more, I want to see it consistently. We can do it, we have shown it in spells, and the frustrating thing on Saturday was that I felt we’d wrestled control of the game. We’d got the equaliser right away and it was us in the ascendancy but the red card – which was a red card – just came out of nothing, really. We shot ourselves in the foot.

“I loved the resilience on Saturday but I want to see what we saw here, just in a league game.”