BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton boss Johnnie Jackson says he wants to see his players step up and take personal responsibility on the field of play after they slumped to a fifth successive defeat with a 2-0 reverse at Sheffield Wednesday.
The result means the South Londoners have gone seven games without a clean sheet – conceding at least twice in each of their last six. They’ve failed to find the back of the net in their last three and at one point today were only six points outside the relegation zone – before a late Ipswich goal at Morecambe meant the cushion was instead just cut at eight.
Both goals came in the first half and in circumstances the Addicks fans have become accustomed to.
The play-off chasing hosts edged ahead early on when George Byers flicked a simple header beyond Craig MacGillivray from a set-piece on five minutes – the fifth goal conceded from a set-piece in the last six outings.
The game was over just before the break as the Owls carved Charlton open with a ball down the side of the defence, something that Oxford and Milton Keynes both managed in the last two, before it was squared for Callum Paterson to make it 2-0.
When asked if he felt his 3-5-2 formation left Charlton susceptible to such attacks, Jackson said: “There’s vulnerabilities and strengths in every formation. Sheffield Wednesday play the exact same formation. We work on those situations. We speak about how we avoid them. On the training pitch we drill it. But step over the white line, you have to take that responsibility and it’s not happening at the minute.
“It’s a bit of a weakness for us at the minute. It’s disappointing because we highlight that we haven’t been good enough in those situations. We practice and we work and speak about what we need to do better but it’s not being implemented at the minute. That’s frustrating.
“It was a disappointing performance. A terrible start. Something that we spoke about – they try and start quick and get you turned and put pressure on you. We wanted to do that to them but we weren’t able to. Found ourselves defending from the first seconds.
“Defending set-play situations, which they’re strong in. It’s a nightmare start to the game and we never really recovered. If you can get in one down then you’ve got something to chase. But to concede again right before half-time, a disappointing goal the way we’ve been done there, it gave us too much to do.
“They’re disappointed because they don’t like losing. None of us like losing, me especially. What can you do? You can sit there feeling sorry for yourself or you can do something about it and roll your sleeves up. That’s what they need to do. It will turn. But it takes hard work and a bit of bottle. We’ll find out whether they’ve got it in them over the coming weeks. If they haven’t, there will be other people to come in and take their place.
“We have to dig a result out. It comes from hard work. I’ll be watching closely on the training pitch and people who aren’t pulling their weight…when I watch the game back and dissect it, things that I see will all be in my mind when I’m picking a side to beat Sunderland. Are we capable of doing that? Of course we are, on any given day. If Stockley is available to us and one or two others, it gives us more of chance. That’s what we’ll be trying to do.”
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS
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