Appleton: 'It was little details that let us down'

Michael Appleton looks on

Michael Appleton was disappointed with a couple of key moments which allowed Cambridge United back into the game as the Addicks drew 2-2 at the Valley on Saturday afternoon.

“It was little details that let us down at the end,” he told local media. “We can’t allow a free header from seven yards out. At any level of football you can’t allow that to happen.”

“You need your smaller and less physical players in the team to be a little bit more aggressive and not allow free headers.”

The boss explained that he believed the other little detail was not a mistake by one of his players, but rather by the man in the middle.

“I’m not going to defend the referee because it’s indefensible,” he said. “It’s one of them where, before the lad had even hit the ground the whistle was in his mouth and he’s given the penalty. It’s clearly outside the box, so that was frustrating.”

After a first period in which he believed his players looked “anxious”, Appleton was pleased with his side’s second-half performance in general.

“In the second half we were on the front foot, we were aggressive. We passed the ball forward much more,” he said. “We found a different way of getting at Cambridge.”

This was aided in no small part by the introduction of Daniel Kanu at half time. “I thought he was great,” Appleton said on his performance.

“He gives us a little bit more physicality up there. When you play with Alfie [May] up top as a nine you’ve got to feed him and play balls down the side. To do that you need a presence in the game, and we never had that in the first half.”

“With DK we’re delighted he’s in a good place and he’s contributing.”

Supporters may have been concerned seeing Corey Blackett-Taylor withdrawn with an apparent injury. The boss provided an update on the winger’s condition. “He’s been struggling with a quad and a thigh issue for a while now. We’ve been managing it as best as we possibly can, that’s the reason he wasn’t involved on Wednesday.

“He had a big contribution in the second half. I think he had a strike just before he came off and he felt it a little bit.”

Appleton is now looking to bounce back on the road at Barnsley. “Next week will be a test,” he said.

“We’ve come through one or two tests away from home over the last month or so. The biggest one was Portsmouth. If we can put a similar sort of performance in to what we did then, we give ourselves a great chance.”

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