Appleton: 'Clean sheet pleased me more than anything'

Michael Appleton claps supporters

Michael Appleton was delighted with his team at both ends of the pitch as they beat Reading 4-0 at the Valley on Saturday afternoon to continue their unbeaten run.

“If you ask the players what the one thing I spoke about in the dressing room after the game, and what was the one thing that pleased me more than anything, it was a clean sheet because we had to work hard at times,” he told local media following the game.

“The likes of George Dobson, Scotty Fraser, they put their bodies on the line with shots on the edge of the box.”

After an even first half, the Addicks found the breakthrough ten minutes into the second period and never looked back. The boss was pleased that his team did not ease off after they took the lead.

“Once that first goal went in, it was almost a switch to look to play forward with purpose,” he said. “Sometimes when you get teams in a position like Reading were and you go ahead there can be a tendency to take your foot off a little bit and allow them to get back into the game. And fortunately we didn’t do that.

“We have to be ruthless, we have to have that killer instinct that when you see the opposition on the backfoot you make sure you utilise that and use it as a strength rather than a weakness.”

It was a match in which Charlton’s quality in wide areas made the difference, and Appleton was quick to praise both Tyreece Campbell and Corey Blackett-Taylor.

“Two or three weeks ago, TC would have driven inside and tried to hit that one with his left foot,” he commented on Campbell’s fantastic strike. “I can’t tell you how hard we’ve been trying to work with him to strike it early because he’s one of those players – and there’s not many around – that doesn’t need much back-lift.”

As for Blackett-Taylor, Appleton noted a development in the winger’s game this season.

“The one thing that was really noticeable playing against Corey in the past and seeing videos of the games prior was everything was to feet. And he can do that and I still want him to do that because we want to isolate him in one-v-one situations. But I just think he’s brought a dimension to his game now where he’s looking to go in behind and run without the ball, which is making him more dangerous because all of a sudden the full-backs and the centre-halves are thinking ‘Is he going to come to feet, is he going to run away?’”

On a day full of positives, the only potential negative was an injury to Chuks Aneke, who was withdrawn just after the hour mark. The boss said it was too early to tell the extent of the issue.

“We don’t know anything at the minute obviously. We’ll know in the next 48 hours or so what the situation is,” he said. “We were certainly hoping that we’d get a situation where we’d be able to bring him off with sufficient time to know that he’s still going to be available for Tuesday. That might still be the case, I don’t know. I’d rather be positive than negative but let’s see what happens in the next 24 hours.”

As for Tuesday’s trip to Lincoln City, Appleton hopes that his side can use their momentum to grab the win on the road: “From a confidence point of view, games like today go a long way. So hopefully that can be the case on Tuesday.”

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