News From Manchester: League One side seeks Jurgen Klopp Liverpool trait with Manchester City Pep Guardiola hallmark

Evatt has recently led Wanderers to a ninth placed finish in League One in his second season in charge of the club. It was their first back in the third tier of English football after being promoted out of League Two in the 2020/21 campaign.

Focus at Wanderers is now fully upon the upcoming campaign and strengthening ahead of that. The University of Bolton Stadium club is seeking to mount a charge for promotion next season and is targeting the play-offs at least

In terms of managerial idols, Evatt has spoken on multiple occasions of his belief that City boss Guardiola is the best in the world. The former Barcelona boss has just led City to their fourth Premier League crown under him.

The Etihad Stadium outfit pipped Klopp's Liverpool to the title by just a point following a remarkable comeback 3-2 victory from two goals down against Aston Villa. The Anfield club beat Wolves 3-1 but finished as runners-up.

Guardiola's side have become synonymous with their possession based football. One of the hallmarks of Klopp's team has been their high energy pressing – the Gegenpress – to win the ball high up the pitch and use blistering pace and skill to get in behind opposition teams.

And Evatt has pinpointed adding the counter-pressing Liverpool do so well to their playing style to complement what Wanderers try and mimic from City. If they can combine the two, he feels it will be a recipe for success as he explained why he believes so passionately in the style of play that he has employed both at former club Barrow and Wanderers.

Speaking to The Athletic, Evatt said: Pep, for me, is the best. I love watching his teams play. I love what they do. My philosophy will always stay the same. But Im learning, too, and when I watched Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final against Villarreal I was amazed by their work out of possession.

Thats the next stage of my development, and ours as a club. We want that in-possession style, but how do we implement that Klopp counter-press? If we can get the two together, thats the holy grail.

I still hear the occasional shout of Get it forward. I heard it at one game recently and I had a bit of a bite at one supporter. He was shouting at me because our goalkeeper had played it short to the centre-back instead of playing it long. I cant please everyone but I think, overall, our supporters are enjoying it.

I wouldnt turn up my nose at managers who dont play possession-based football but my enjoyment, as a player for 20-odd years, was being in a team that dominated the ball. People pay a lot of money to watch football and they should be entertained. For me, that means possession-based, open, expansive, attacking football and, if we can provide that, we are entertaining our fanbase.

When I took the Barrow job, I was telling people about my vision and philosophy and everyone said, You cant get out of the National League playing that way'. Once we broke that mould, people started being brave enough to say, Hang on a minute, if they can do it, why cant we?

“There seems to be a changing of the guard now. A lot of managers, the older generation, are transitioning out of the game and there are young, up-and-coming coaches with bright ideas coming through.

Evatt is under no illusions that the way he likes to see the game played is not an easy thing to achieve. It takes courage to implement and requires all connected at a football club to buy into it.

The Bolton boss admits it was a 'bugbear' of his watching teams at international level dominating with the ball, but not seeing it with England, despite the top flight being up there with the best in the world. But he feels that philosophy is creeping in more up and down the football pyramid.

Evatt said: Its tough (to play this way), its challenging and it takes real bravery. I always say: unless you really believe in it yourself, how are you going to get everyone else to believe in it? The fans, board, players. You have to educate people. You have to stick with it and, if you start to get results, you get a huge buy-in from everybody.

Growing up, it was always a frustration of mine when I watched the Champions League, or international fixtures in particular, that we had some of the best players in the world and always sacrificed the ball.

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