Tom Rubashow reports from The Valley
Karl Robinson praised his players and the club’s fans after Charlton secured a “very important win” against Southend United at The Valley on Saturday afternoon.
Ricky Holmes gave the Addicks an early lead but John White’s equaliser levelled the scores, before a Southend own goal in the 74th minute gave Robinson’s men a deserved three points.
He said: “It was a big result. I’m not going to hide it from anybody, the emotion in myself and the players at the end was clear for everyone to see. I think everyone put a right shift in today.
“We’ve trained here (at The Valley) for two days, I wanted the players to feel comfortable at home at The Valley. I’ve brought teams here for many years and I loved coming here.
“There is a uniqueness and specialness about the place. Sometimes when you only come here to play games and things aren’t going well, it can be a place to be feared. We changed our training programme this week and everything that was done was here.”
The win took Charlton five points clear of the relegation zone and also dented Southend’s push for a play-off spot. Robinson said: “They came here expecting to win, you see the turnout from their fans.
“I thought the way their fans conducted themselves in the minute’s applause (for Mike Norris) beforehand was impeccable. You could see how disappointed they were at the end. From our perspective, though, it is about what we did.
“The substitutions came on and were a difference. Jake’s not having that (the second) goal, he can have an assist. He was in the box, if he doesn’t run in the box, that doesn’t happen.
“We’ve flooded the box, we’ve worked on it all week about getting people in there and creating opportunities. We had one or two chances in the first half, too.
“I like playing with two wide players, it suites how I want to play. It’s the first time for a long time I’ve been able to go with that system, with people fully fit to actually play it.
“They scored from a set piece. When you watch it back, Pearcey ran in to Ez and tripped him up and that’s how he got a free header. I kicked a load of water bottles all over the place but when I look back it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was a collision of two players.
“It was a very, very important win. It is all down to the players and the fans. I thought they were excellent. The two unified become almost untouchable at times here at The Valley.”
Before the game, the Charlton Upbeats beat their Brighton counter-parts 5-0 on the pitch at The Valley. After the game, the Charlton players went and gave their shirts to members of the Upbeats.
Robinson said: “It was a very special moment for them. They are good people, we’ve seen the enthusiasm they played with in the game before ours and I think it was a lovely touch by Ricky, Dec, Nathan and the boys who went into the crowd to really show what they mean to us.
“This is what I mean about a unified club, when we all unite together we’re a special place. The players need to realise that the unified group comes by them winning games and working hard, which they did today.
“We saw the Upbeats training the other week. The walk before the game is a special part of the football club. It’s an engrained importance that they play as part of the football club. Every person that wears our shirt, whether it be the Upbeats, the ladies team, the under-6 team through to the first team, we want everyone to feel a part of one family. That’s the way I want to build the football club.”
Robinson explained that Ezri Konsa and Holmes, the two substituted players, were taken off for precautionary reasons. Jake Forster-Caskey and Jorge Teixeira replaced them. Robinson said: “I can’t ask any more of the players that played today, and the subs, Tex won some headers and Jake made a difference.
“It’s nice when your subs come on and actually affect the game. We’ve said to the players, it’s a league of nine and you have to win your games, I don’t want to be relying on other teams to get beat, I want to win games.
“I know I’ve let people down since I’ve been here. Some of the performances and the results haven’t been great. I’ve always said I have to take responsibility for that but I care, I really do care.
“I want this football club to be a special place to come to work and I want this place to be a feared place and an enjoyable place to come and play but tonight I’m certainly going to enjoy.
“I want to thank all the staff for their work rate and work ethic, everything worked that we tried to do and we had a little bit of lady luck on our side today as well and that’s important.”
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