Nigel Adkins was pleased with his side’s performance as the Addicks recorded their first victory of the 2021/22 League One campaign with a 2-0 triumph over Crewe Alexandra in SE7 on Saturday.
Diallang Jaiyesimi sent The Valley faithful wild with his headed opener on 36 minutes, before Jayden Stockley doubled Charlton’s lead with a composed finish past Will Jaaskelainen before the interval.
“It was positive all round,” Adkins told CharltonTV. “The players worked really hard yet again. A lot of things we’ve worked on at the training ground that they’ve gone and implemented into the game. I’m really pleased we’ve worked the goalkeeper, we’re in the attacking third, we’re getting balls into the box, we’re getting more bodies in the box and they’re grafting. They’re doing a lot of the horrible things you’ve got to go and do as well to win a game of football. A great atmosphere with the fans and for me we’ve scored two, but we should have scored more.
“Obviously we knew that they’d want to play out from the back and when you look at it we’ve set ourselves up to go and press them. We’ve pressed them high and we’ve won the ball back. It’s a great cross from Chris Gunter, a left-footed cross. We highlighted in the week when we did the debrief that DJ [Diallang Jaiyesimi] was staying out too wide, so can he get in at the far post for the cross? He’s gone and done that and it’s a great header. It was a great goal. We’ve had some real good opportunities today to score goals and that’s great credit to the players.
“We’re making sure that everything is positive around the training ground,” the Charlton manager added. “We’ve got good players and we’ve got a good team. Results have gone against us just of late, but we’ve had good spells. Today we’ve had more stronger spells and, again, it’s about putting the ball in the net.
“I’m really pleased we’ve kept a clean sheet, Craig [MacGillivray] has made a couple of good saves again. I think Albie [Morgan] has knocked a couple off the line, so we’ve to address that because we don’t want to give any opportunities to the opposition, but if they do you’ve got to defend it. From my point of view really well done to all of the staff and the players, who are working extremely hard. There’s a unity about everybody. It’s nice that we’ve got Elliot Lee, a new signing, on the pitch as well. You can see straight away if we can get him on the ball between the lines he’s going to be really creative for us in there. Conor Washington, the link-up, his weight of pass for Jayden Stockley’s goal was really good. We caught them on the counter-attack. All in all we’ve got to be pleased with a 2-0 victory and a great atmosphere at The Valley.”
The Addicks manager provided an update on Ryan Inniss, who was withdrawn on 63 minutes, while reserving particular praise for his replacement, 17-year-old Deji Elerewe.
“All being well Ryan [Inniss] is going to be alright,” revealed Adkins. “He was just a bit uncomfortable so he’s come off. As I said, every confidence in putting Deji [Elerewe] in there. I’ve got two good players in there - Pearcey [Jason Pearce] could have gone on but I was very happy and very comfortable putting Deji on the pitch.
“I thought he was outstanding. Deji has come on for the last half-hour as well and what a performance from him by the way. A 17-year-old, he’s not fazed. The way he’s passed the ball through, he’s headed it, he’s won it. He looked so composed - that was great.”
The visit of the Railwaymen saw Adkins opt for a different formation as Conor Washington returned to operate alongside captain Jayden Stockley, and the Charlton manager was delighted with the outcome as his side administered chances aplenty.
“Last season we played like a 1-4-3-3 if you like with, ideally, one holding and two advanced to try and go on. That’s what we looked to try and do at the start of the season; last week we’ve gone to two holders and one advanced, and we used Albie [Morgan] in that number 10 position. Albie likes to roam all over the place and sometimes we’ve left Jayden [Stockley] far too isolated.
“We didn’t expect Conor [Washington] to be available last week coming off at MK Dons and it’s great that we’ve now got young Charlie Kirk in here as well. DJ [Diallang Jaiyesimi] was yet again outstanding, so I like to think we’ve got attacking threats. It’s getting in the attacking thirds of the pitch, getting combinations of people, getting players to play together if you like when we haven’t got people isolated and just sustained pressure. I’m really pleased with Conor Washington and Jayden Stockley today.”
Adkins concluded by explaining he is keen to continue the momentum built from Saturday’s victory ahead of Tuesday night’s Papa John’s Trophy Group O tie against Crawley Town at The Valley.
“Well I’ve just told the players that we want to go and win the next game,” explained the Addicks boss. “Obviously some players haven’t played, some players need some more gametime fitness.
“We want to try and keep the momentum going so we’ve got to address it in a way where we’ve got to keep working and we’re getting ourselves ready then for the game after that. There’s a spirit amongst the players and there’s a willingness to keep working and learning. We’ve got to maintain that.”