Appleton: 'We played into their hands'

Michael Appleton talking to CharltonTV

Michael Appleton was frustrated with his team’s performance in their 1-0 loss at Leyton Orient on Boxing Day afternoon.

“Very disappointing,” he told CharltonTV. “Tough one to take on the chin. But that’s football.”

In particular, the boss was not happy with the way his side were unable to hold onto possession. “I just didn’t think we were brave enough in the second half getting on the ball,” he said. “We played into their hands a little bit by going too long too soon.”

In truth, neither team played particularly well. Appleton was disappointed that, at the moment, it seems like opposition sides can get results against Charlton without dominating the game.

“We can’t step away from the game of football allowing the home team to have a ten-minute spell and still win the game,” he said.

He believes a run of results which have not always reflected the Addicks’ performances has dented the self-belief of his squad slightly.

“It’s a build-up of not getting what we deserve. That probably is the reason why one or two looked like they had a lack of confidence today. Over recent games we haven’t got what we deserved out of the games, and it looked as if it was heavy on their shoulders today,” he said.

“They looked as if they were finding it really hard to cope with that.”

But the gaffer is confident that he can remind his players of their good form earlier on in this campaign. “When you’re low on confidence a little bit, it’s hard to make players believe that they’re more than capable of doing it. But you can give them reminders,” he said.

“You can show them certain spells throughout the season where they’ve done it and done it on a regular basis.”

The games are coming thick and fast during this Christmas period, and Charlton are in action again on Friday evening at Bristol Rovers. Appleton reflected that he may have to make a couple of changes for that match.

“I can’t make wholesale changes because we don’t have wholesale options. But I have to think about the variety in the group. If I think it can help us and improve us in the Bristol Rovers game then clearly I’m going to do that.”

Nonetheless, regardless of the players on the pitch, the boss was adamant that there is only one way to navigate this sticky patch.

“There’s only one way to come through it,” he said. “By rolling your sleeves up, having a go, staying on the front foot, being positive, being aggressive and taking the flak when it comes. We have to be that. We have to be all of those things.”

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