YANN THE MAN SPANKS ROBINS
CHARLTON boss Chris Powell believes he knows exactly what buttons to press to get the best out of Yann Kermorgant after the Frenchman’s silky skills sunk sorry Bristol City.
The 31-year-old’s temperament has been maligned in the past and caused him to leave previous employers Leicester under a cloud after his play-off penalty horror.
But against the Robins he was unstoppable, scoring two before Bobby Reid pulled one back for City, and then making another for Jonathan Obika, with skipper Johnnie Jackson wrapping things up.
And Powell insisted the striker, after a 12-goal haul this season, had finally found a home in South London.
“I like him, I trust him,” he said. “He’s got that flair and shrug in his play but I can accept that. I have to manage players in different ways, but that’s what I’m here to do, that’s what I’m paid for.
“You only have to have a quiet word with him and I thought it was an outstanding display.
“He’s some player. Superb technique, I know he’s a hero to the fans and he’s a major player for us. He showed exactly what he’s about.”
The result seals a ninthplaced finish for the Addicks in their first season back in the second tier, and Powell was full of praise for his side after a strong finish to the campaign.
“We were expected to be in the bottom six this year,” he said. “We’ve got one of the smallest budgets in the division and we’ve been punching way above our weight all season.
“It’s been a great season though, all in all. I’m a better manager for this season than last. It was a superb year for us, but this year was a big learning curve for everyone.”
After a non-event of a first half typical of a final-day encounter, with both teams playing merely for pride, Kermorgant broke the deadlock two minutes after the break in style, volleying in Mark Gower’s right-hand cross.
When he headed home Chris Solly’s cross just three minutes later, it looked as though the Addicks had the game sewn up until Reid produced a delightful chip on the hour to beat David Button.
But with the away side’s impetus growing, Kermorgant’s audacious chip cannoned off the bar and at the feet of Obika with 12 minutes to go, leaving the Tottenham loanee with a simple finish, before Jackson added a fourth in the dying minutes.
At the end of City’s relegation campaign, Sean O’Driscoll insisted his prime concern had never been survival.
He said: “We’ve never gone into the situation thinking the idea was to try and stay in the division.
“It was the idea, but you have to look beyond that and think ‘what do we need to be successful’. That’s what we’ve tried to do.
“If you look at the last two seasons, that’s probably what’s been lacking. It’s not just on the playing field, but throughout the club.”
A big summer turnaround has been predicted at Ashton Gate, but O’Driscoll wouldn’t be drawn on potential comings and goings.
“It’s foolish to say you’re going to get rid of players,” he said.
“The vast majority of players are in contract next season. It’s pretty straight forward for us. One or two of those out of contract we’ll lose, and one or two we’ll offer contracts to.
“You might want to make changes, but if a player’s under contract you’re limited in what you can do.
“You’ve got to change the culture. All successful clubs have an identity and a way of doing things.”
AT THE DOUBLE: Yann Kermorgant, right, celebrates his second goal with captain Johnnie Jackson