Ian Evatt believes that teams need multiple strings to their bow to have sustained success across the English football pyramid as the Bolton Wanderers boss hopes to prepare his side to be equipped to keep moving on up the leagues.
Wanderers achieved promotion last season out of League Two and are aiming to reach the play-offs this season in League One.
Evatt has implemented an expansive style of play at Wanderers based upon possession and a passing philosophy, going against other sides which are more direct and aim to make the most out of set pieces.
READMORE: Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt on MK Dons, team selection, play-offs message & opposition view
The Bolton boss believes that League One has changed in recent years and there are teams across the division capable of high quality performances, as was highlighted in Tuesday night’s victory over Lincoln City.
Evatt believes substance alone is not enough anymore and that football must be entertaining and that by having the playing style that Wanderers have, it has the potential to work not only in League One, but also in the Championship and the Premier League.
And he believes that being based upon direct play and set pieces has the potential to cause problems with fans when it does not bring results and that more is needed to have sustained success throughout the game.
Evatt said: “Gone are the days where it was just substance. I think nowadays people want style as well. It’s an entertainment industry and people deserve to be entertained.
“If you are playing an attractive brand of football and winning, it’s great – it’s the holy grail, it’s the golden chalice. If you can play my view of the right way and win consistently, then you’ve cracked it.
“But if you play the other way and you win games, you’ve also cracked it. It’s when you stop winning that the fans become reckless because they’re not enjoying what they’re seeing, especially when you’re getting beat.
“In my opinion, to have sustained success throughout the pyramid – I’m talking about the Championship and Premier League here – you need to have more strings to your bow than being set-piece based and direct.
“I think there are too many good players, too many athletic players, too many good managers and coaches at the top end of the division that can hurt you.
“That’s our plan, that’s the way I see it. I may be wrong, but I’ll do the best to prepare us as best as I can to play in the higher echelons of the English pyramid.
“I think there are some very, very good teams. There are some really well coached teams that are capable of putting in some high-quality performances.
“I said before the game on Tuesday that it was going to be a really tough test. I think that their league position underestimates how good a team they are. They have been in a lot of games and not quite had the rub of the green or taken their chances, and that was the case in the first half.
“They had the one big chance and didn’t take it. In the second half, we managed to take ours. But that’s the game. It’s a tough division, it’s a really tough game on Saturday (vs MK Dons) but we’ re looking forward to it.”
Wanderers have scored from set pieces of late, which has been a rarity under Evatt, and found the back of the net with these against Charlton Athletic, AFC Wimbledon and Lincoln.
Evatt is pleased his side has been able to add this side to their game in recent weeks ahead of the clash versus MK Dons tomorrow and highlighted the importance that they could have in the long run.
He said: “It’s really nice, we can still get better as well. Probably two teams on Saturday that aren’t known for set-plays but, in terms of their open play, I was looking at a lot of the league data this morning and I think we’re top for open play goals this season, which is good.If we can add those set-play goals, it’s another string to our bow.
“That’s what we need to try and do. I said to the players on our post-match analysis video that we do, I’m nitpicking and being a bit choosy with what I say to them but that could be the difference – one set -play where one player isn’t doing their job could be the difference of getting in the play-offs or not.
“It could be the difference of winning a game or not. In key moments, they have to give it the importance it deserves and make sure when we give them roles and responsibilities, they do it. If they don’t, they’ll be held accountable and that’s just the way it is.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.