Michael Appleton says he is carefully managing the message to his Charlton side following their abject 2-0 defeat at Gillingham in the FA Cup – because he doesn’t have many more bodies to pick from in the next few weeks.
First half goals from former Addicks forward Macauley Bonne and Timothee Dieng set the tone for a miserable exit from the cup at a freezing cold Priestfield.
The South Londoners only forced one effort on target throughout the 90 minutes and were well out of sorts throughout.
The League Two hosts also had chances to extend their lead in the second period, many of which were of the Addicks’ own making. The visitors were jeered from the field by what remained the travelling support at full time.
Appleton made five changes coming into the tie – two forced with both Miles Leaburn and Conor McGrandles missing through injury – but still had some of his biggest hitters on the field such as Corey Blackett-Taylor and Alfie May.
Youngsters Lucas Ness and Nathan Asiimwe were amongst those given a chance to impress the Addicks boss with Slobodan Tedic up top but Appleton admitted nobody staked a claim to be included in League One games going forward.
“I think you know the answer to that question,” said Appleton was asked if anyone had done enough against the Gills.
“They’ve made my job very easy over the next couple of weeks.
“I’ll take responsibility because I made three or four changes and the changes I made didn’t work. What I will say is there’s not that many options, so we’ve got to be careful. Players that we’ve got today are pretty much what we’ve got to use. We’ve got to find the balance between making them know that that’s not acceptable but at the same time making sure that from a confidence point of view, because of one game, one performance, one result – we don’t go off the rails.
“I think there was a lot of people trying to do that with the back-to-back defeats [against Lincoln and Bolton]. When we got asked the question, we stood up to it and came back with the right answers. All we can hope is that we do the same.”
“The performance was poor, but the reality is the result is the most important thing,” added the Charlton manager after suffering just a third defeat in his 17 games in charge in all competitions.
“We didn’t do enough to win the game. It was a poor start from us and it didn’t particularly get that much better. We had a couple of opportunities early doors – Alfie (May) had the one from the corner – but after that it became really difficult.
“Players get judged on decision making and whether they make good decisions or bad ones. We had too many making far too many poor decisions with the ball, and not always under pressure. Sometimes unopposed as well, which was the really frustrating thing. We’ll look at that and try and make sure we put that right on Wednesday.”
PHOTOS: KEITH GILLARD
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