Michael Appleton was pleased with his side’s second-half performance on Saturday, as they took high-flying Peterborough United all the way but were just unable to claim a point.
“First half I thought we were a bit tentative. We probably showed them a little bit too much respect,” he told local media after the game. “But I thought we were great in the second half. I thought we were outstanding at times. That performance would have beaten 90 per cent of the teams in this league.”
The boss made two substitutions and a tactical change at half-time, bringing on Louie Watson and Daniel Kanu while pushing new signing Tyreeq Bakinson higher up the field. It was a switch that brought almost immediate results, Alfie May levelling the scoring in the 49th minute
“I thought in the second half the change certainly helped us – playing with that extra striker and getting Tyreeq a little bit higher up the pitch, closer to their two baseline midfield players,” said Appleton.
The gaffer also began the match with a new formation, switching to a back three.
“It was something we spoke about numerous times before January – looking at what we’ve got in the building, looking and might not be here beyond the summer. And what I saw in the second half gave me loads of hope and encouragement. I really enjoyed watching it and I think the fans did as well,” said the boss.
Appleton was full of praise for his midfield additions, each of which featured this afternoon. “Tyreeq was good. It was a good performance,” he said. “I thought he looked much more comfortable and better higher up the pitch in the second half, which is something for us to note.”
“I thought Conor [Coventry] was outstanding. He just ran the game when he came on. He just showed the quality of what he is and what he’s about,” he continued.
“Lewis Fiorini, he’s one that we’ll definitely encourage and make sure we get more and more minutes into him because, whether it’s off the bench or starting, he’ll get goals from that area.”
Addicks fans also have the introduction of Macaulay Gillesphey to look forward to, and he might be needed even quicker than expected with the news that Michael Hector has picked up an injury.
“Unfortunately he’s going to be out for ten weeks or so. It wasn’t great news midweek that we got. It’s his hamstring. So obviously that was a bit of a sucker punch to the kidneys,” said the gaffer.
“There are opportunities now for other people to come in. I thought the three centre-halves especially in the second were far more aggressive and on the front foot,” he added. “I thought Nessy was superb in the second half as well.”
It was not the result that the Addicks were looking for, but a strong second-half showing gave Appleton reasons to be optimistic.
“We’ve got 20 games, 60 points to play for. At the top end of the pitch we’re missing a piece of the jigsaw that we’re working really, really hard to try and rectify,” he said.
“If we do that and possibly one or two more then I do believe we can win a massively significant amount of those 60 points.”