Adkins’ verdict on Cheltenham Town defeat

Nigel Adkins delivered his verdict on a frustrating afternoon in SE7 as his side slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Cheltenham Town. 

First-half goals from Matty Blair and Taylor Perry proved to be enough for the visitors to leave the capital with all three points, having held on in the second period despite Jonathan Leko finding the back of the net to halve the arrears on 59 minutes.

“Well the 90 minutes, I think we start with the first-half… obviously I put the trust in the players that did ever so well against Crewe in the last home game,” Adkins told CharltonTV. “One change with new signing Sam Lavelle coming in at centre-half for the injured Ryan Inniss and Conor Washington being away on international duty, I thought Elliot Lee did ever so well in the previous game scoring. He’s done really well in training and I just thought it was probably beneficial to have Conor coming off the bench, which he’s gone and done there.

“First-half for me the team was unrecognisable. Unrecognisable from what we’ve done. For me we’ve had a real good week’s training in our preparation coming into the game. The things we’ve talked about clearly aren’t where the shape that the opposition were playing about. In possession of the ball for us our two full-backs are on, we talked about it. So obviously I’ve not done enough - that’s what I’m looking at. Why haven’t we gone and done it? 

“Out of possession of the football we talk about a defensive shape, a compact shape to press as a team regardless of the opposition shape. We’ve played against this shape before, obviously with a box in midfield, how we can be compact to press. We were individuals chasing after the ball and we got a good run around in the first-half in particular, so for me that was very disappointing from us. 

Adkins introduced Leko at the interval to hand the Birmingham City loanee his second Addicks debut as his side shifted shape, and within 14 minutes of his introduction the 22-year-old forward had blasted past Robins stopper Scott Flinders to give Charlton a lifeline, though the second period ultimately proved a frustrating one.

“For me we’ve changed it in the second-half, [Jonathan] Leko has gone and scored, but with the introduction of that we’ve changed our shape and that probably suited us better from that point of view of getting on the ball a bit more,” explained the Charlton manager. “I’m getting really frustrated with us at times when there’s opportunities for us to play and for me we’re too direct into Jayden [Stockley]. He’s got several players around him. It’s more like hoof football for me and I don’t want that. 

“We need to be better in possession of the football,” he continued. “Again, second-half we’ve come out and we’ve got momentum, we’ve scored a goal. If we had a bit more composure we should have scored some more goals, but then we let the game drift away with free-kicks and whatever, instead of just sustaining a good latter pressure. So for me I’ve got a lot to think about,” concluded Adkins.

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