Appleton: 'The first-half performance was excellent'


Michael Appleton was pleased with his side’s first-half display as they scored four goals to help them on their way to a 4-2 victory over Aston Villa U21s in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

“I think overall we have got to be really happy with the result and certainly the first-half performance was excellent,” he told CharltonTV. 

“We want them to run. We made a big thing of that since coming through the door - being prepared to run without the ball - and we did that in abundance in that first half.”

Despite claiming two goals in the closing stages, the young Villans never really looked like mounting a comeback and the boss was comfortable with the slight drop-off his team had in the second period. 

“Because the job had been been done in that first half, we were not as sharp and slick at times as we were in that first half,” he said.

The EFL Trophy is a much-maligned competition, but as a Head Coach who has gone close to winning it on three occasions, Appleton was keen to stress its importance to him.

“I have got really deep in this competition on a few occasions, missing out in the final twice and getting beat on penalties in the semi-final,” he explained. “I have shown it respect over the years and I want the players to do the same.

“I think this competition is so important because as a group, from a morale point of view, a confidence point of view, a continuity point of view, if you stay in this competition for as long as you possibly can, it allows you to give players minutes.”

One player who was given that all-important playing was Josh Laqeretabua, who was withdrawn midway through the first half after a clash of heads. The gaffer reassured supporters that the young defender is fine.

“Josh is alright, he is up and about. It was precautionary more than anything,” he said. “You have got to be ultra-cautious.

“Josh is happy, he has got his minutes. He would have liked to get a little bit more but I like seeing that type of thing anyway - it shows he has got a competitive edge. And if he has going to have a career in competitive football he is going to have a few more of those moments!”

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