Olly Groome reports from The Valley
Karl Robinson was pleased with the second-half reaction shown by his new side as the Addicks played out a goalless draw with Milton Keynes Dons at The Valley.
Coming up against his former side in his first game in charge for the FA Cup second-round tie, Charlton’s new boss admitted he was less than impressed with a first-half showing which saw the visitors enjoy the better of the game, but praised the desire shown by his players after the break.
Question: Karl, a goalless draw with your old side. What did you learn about your new team today?
KR: “I learned that the first half wasn’t good enough. I learned that from everything we worked on, we were in between and were almost there.
“Milton Keynes were already there and had no questions on what they were doing, and that shows a clear philosophy.
“Obviously, losing a player like Konsa early on and it’s really difficult to have to reshuffle when you’ve worked on things, but I thought the second half showed people in the stadium what my teams are all about.
“The distances were better, the pressing was better, the desire was better, the playing between the lines and the passing from the back and going forwards were better. Morgan Fox was closer to the winger, our right-back was closer to the winger, our two centre-backs dominated the striker aggressively, and our strikers maybe should have won it towards the end.”
Q: There were chances for both sides, with heroics at one end from Patrick Bauer to keep you in the cup. It could have gone either way, couldn’t it?
KR: “The best chances in the first half went their way, but we had the best chances of the second half. I’m really pleased with the mentality of the group and hopefully now we can continue on this path going forward. If we can do that, then we will be a very good team.”
Q: How have you settled in? Have you managed to put your stamp on your new team?
KR: “It’s hard, obviously, because maybe my ways are completely different to what they’re used to. But people have seen that there is a plan and a developmental stage where we can move forward from.
“The previous manager settled things down here and now it’s time for me to come in. What’s gone before has happened and now it’s time for us to move forward. I’m really excited by the challenge and want to get on the front foot as you saw in the second half.
“We were at home at The Valley today. This place is for front-foot, aggressive football.”
Q: Getting your first home game under your belt must be special?
KR: “It’s the most nervous I’ve ever been before a game. You’re always fearful, there’s always those demons in your head saying ‘what if something happens, what if someone slips and this or that happens’. But my players gave me everything and they will learn about me, how honest I am and how hard I want to work and hopefully we can move forwards together.”
Q: We saw the rapport you had with the MK Dons fans before the game. I’m sure that’s something you’ll be trying to garner here at The Valley?
KR: "Hopefully those in the stadium today have seen what I’ve done over the last six-and-a-half years. It means so much to me and I want to have that connection with the fans here.
“I told the players before they want off not to go down the tunnel, but to clap home the fans, because those people deserve that.
“We win, lose or draw, the price doesn’t change, so we need to treat them with the same sort of respect. The next stage is to develop this club going forward.
“I’m going to do my damndest to try and do that and will do everything I possibly can. I’ll use every hour God sends to coach and coach and the more we do that, the better we will become.”
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