Charlton AthleticSport

Charlton boss pins late Cambridge goals down to personnel options rather than complacency

Michael Appleton did not feel that his Charlton Athletic side suffered from complacency in yesterday’s 2-2 draw against Cambridge United.

The Addicks led 2-0 going into the final minutes of normal time after second-half goals from Alfie May and Chem Campbell.

But The U’s hit back through Gassan Ahadme, who headed home unmarked from a corner and then converted a penalty in stoppage time.

“I don’t think it was complacency – probably just a little bit of fear and anxiety,” said head coach Appleton. “They can’t afford to be complacent – because we haven’t done anything.

“It’s not as if we’re on the back of a couple of promotions on a 10-game unbeaten run. I don’t think it is complacency. Seeing a game out is easier said than done. I’ve been there and done it as a player. You need the right players and right now we have got a group that are probably going to struggle to do that on a consistent basis.

“They will do it in the odd game but will struggle to do it on a consistent basis. I’m not speaking out of turn and saying anything that you lot don’t all think. There are a lot of players missing out of that group today that would have had an influence right from the start. But, as it is, I’ve got to give all those players in the dressing room credit for coming out in the second half the way they did.

“Hopefully next time when we are in a position where we are 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go we make a little better decisions when it is a free-kick or corner – you slow it down, get more men around the ball and all those type of things.”

Appleton was asked what he asked from his players at half-time when the match was scoreless and lacking in incident.

He said: “Just be a little bit braver. I was a little bit concerned by the lack of personality within the group.

“We almost accepted the fact they were going to be aggressive and physical. I felt like we were waiting to go a goal down.

“I was probably a little bit irritated at half-time and I wanted us to try and be a little bit more aggressive. If we try and be more aggressive and lose out – lose duels – because we’re not as physical or as strong then fine. But you have got to make contact with people – it doesn’t matter if you are five foot nothing or six foot four. When you have got a player in front of you and you’re going in for a header or a tackle then you have got to make contact.

“It’s a contact sport. I know the rule-makers and rule-changers are trying to change that – to turn it into a non-contact sport – but as it is now it is still a contact sport.”

PICTURE: PAUL EDWARDS

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