Leeds United 2 Bolton Wanderers 1: Evans expresses relief
STEVE EVANS expressed his relief after Leeds United claimed a precious three points to end a torrid week for the club and himself with a welcome three points against Bolton Wanderers.
A goal in each half from Mirco Antenucci helped Leeds record their first win in six Championship matches in a 2-1 success over relegation-haunted Wanderers - as the Whites provided a winning response after the humiliating first-half capitulation in a wretched 4-0 defeat at Brighton.
The win helped provide respite for the beleaguered Scot and while being the first to admit that Leeds were nowhere near their best, he felt their batting qualities shone through as the team provided a collective response to the desperate events at the Amex Stadium - despite a few flutters at the end after sub Kaiyne Woolery pulled a goal back in the 74th minute for Wanderers.
Evans, whose side return to action at Cardiff City on Tuesday night, said: “It was very hard. People look at Bolton and forget the quality of the manager and individual players they have got.
“But we collectively took responsibility for a shambolic performance down at Brighton. We came back and I was so proud of the players.
“We had lots of meetings which went on for most of the week. Not looking for who to blame, those things don’t happen in a good team.
“We have got a fantastic spirit within the dressing room, from the players to the staff to the head of the football club.
“The battling and the effort got us the points today more than perhaps the quality of the play.
“It’s very easy to apportion blame to players. If you have anything about you as a head coach, you look in first and I don’t think we got everything right at Brighton.
“Certainly, from a players’ point of view, that never happened either. But collectively, we came together and didn’t look for an apportion of blame, but a reaction.
“We said to the players that we had an opportunity to go and get three points. I thought on and off the pitch, from the minute I arrived at the stadium to when the referee blew his final whistle, the supporters were helping us get there.
“When you haven’t won in a while, it’s important that the nerves don’t get the better of you. We were a bit nervous in the last ten minutes and you could feel the tension.
“But it’s nice to get over the line and get the three points.”
Evans said that Liam Cooper was replaced at the interval after suffering a hamstring tweak, while Lewie Coyle, who left the ground wearing a medical boot after being stretchered off in the first half, will be assessed further by medical staff.