BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Nigel Adkins says now is the time so start focusing on the future as his Charlton side fell just short of making the League One play-offs despite beating title winners Hull City on the final day.
The Addicks’ 1-0 triumph over the Championship-bound Tigers wasn’t enough as Oxford’s 4-0 win over Burton Albion saw them leapfrog Portsmouth into sixth, with Charlton missing out due to the U’s seven-goal advantage on goal difference.
Adkins took over from Lee Bowyer with ten games left of the campaign but saw his side narrowly miss out on extending their season despite only tasting defeat once during his tenure.
The results sentence Charlton to a second-consecutive season in the third tier but Adkins says they can now focus on rebuilding and challenging next year with the help of owner Thomas Sandgaard.
Adkins said: “We’ve had ten games since I’ve joined. Thanks to all of the staff and the players, the supporters have been great. We’ve lost once since I’ve been in charge and that was our best performance against another team that has been promoted in Peterborough. We just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. When we look at the possession stats and how we built the play, it was really good.
“Unfortunately, we’ve not got enough goals or points to be in the play-off positions. Now we know what division we’re in, we can obviously reflect, debrief but look to go and build now and build on the ten games in the short space of time I’ve been here. And build with the owner on how we can keep moving forward.
“The big thing is that [today] we’ve won the game, that’s the important thing to start off with. We’ve played the champions. Great credit to Grant McCann, Hull City and everybody. After relegation it’s always difficult to bounce back. They were champions and they put the full hit out today, they wanted to break their club record.
“It was a real competitive game. The first 20 minutes, you could see how good they are. We played a 4-4-2 looking to stop them because they play out from the back. We tried to stop that. The diagonal balls were giving us all sorts of problems. When I changed the formation, we were far better. We were able to get a grip of the ball and play. We won the game 1-0. Could have scored a couple more, who knows where that would have taken us. But ultimately, it was out of our hands. Portsmouth have lost but Oxford have scored enough goals. It was always going to be difficult to score five, six, seven goals against the champions.
“I was pleased with the way we played in the second-half and I was pleased with the way we responded after the first 20 minutes to how Hull were playing and we adapted. We created some more chances in a controlled way, it wasn’t just kick, hoof and hope for the best. It was a controlled way. I thought Millar and Maatsen down the left-hand side in the second-half, they looked exceptional. Both players on loan from Premier League clubs and you can see that bit of class they’ve got, they linked up really well.”
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS
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