Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt’s view on clean sheet run in League One


Wanderers have the tightest defence in League One – but Ian Evatt insists praise needs to be shared all the way around his team.

The Whites kept a third consecutive clean sheet as they despatched Lincoln City 2-0 at the University of Bolton Stadium and have conceded just six times in 10 games.

While his side could never be accused of playing defence-minded football, Evatt believes the high pressing strategy honed over the last 12 months, and particularly the summer, is now bearing fruit.

“I don’t want to jinx it,” he smiled. “But there are different ways to keep clean sheets.

“There is backs-to-the-wall defending, but we are trying to do a different way which is having control of the ball. If you have got the ball, the opposition can’t score.

“Also, the way we press so high up the pitch and the amount of times we keep the ball away from our goal with high regains.

“Our counter-press in transition is getting better and better all of the time. As I have said before, we shouldn’t celebrate clean sheets just goalkeepers and defenders. The whole team should celebrate because it is very much a team effort with our defensive structure.”

Wanderers are clearly taking great pride in their newfound defensive resolve. James Trafford’s late save to deny Matty Virtue was met with high fives and back slaps all around.

“I don’t know why they celebrated because they don’t get clean sheet bonuses!” laughed Evatt. “That is their job. No, it is just nice that they want to keep the score at nil and keep that defensive record up. That is great to see.”

Evatt was pleased to see referee Neil Hair reverse his original decision on advice from his linesman and give a first-half penalty for a foul by Adam Jackson on Elias Kachunga.

“Everyone has different views of the game,” he said. “Obviously, the referee said he was blindsides so couldn’t see the tug. But the linesman at the far side had a clear view of it and helped and assisted the referee.

“The disappointing thing for me was the one second half looked even more of a penalty on Dion. Refs are there to make mistakes and we are thankful that he gave us one today.”





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