No way Jose will lose faith
THOUGH the Charlton supporters are at loggerheads with the board, new manager Jose Riga believes his players can soon put smiles on their faces.
Harry Lennon gave the Addicks the lead, but Jordan Rhodes denied Riga the chance to get the first win of his second spell in charge with an equaliser on the stroke of halftime.
Mass protests have been staged outside the Valley for weeks, with owner Roland Duchatelet the subject of the supporters’ angst.
But Riga hopes what the fans saw on the pitch can at least give them grounds for optimism.
“The way my players, the whole squad, behaved, the way they were working hard to get a positive result, I think it was the first step in the right direction,” said Riga.
“I’m just focused on the sporting mission. It’s my job, I’m a manager and tell the same to the players.We have to do our job in a way that we can get results for the club.The club is the main thing for me. Stay in the Championship is the priority.
“In the dressing room after the game I didn’t see a lot of smiles. But I said to them that I’d rather the mentality and team spirit. When you are coming from 13 goals in three games without scoring, the only problem is that we concede just before half-time.
“Concentration is a key word in football. It can happen with young players, all players, you have to fight with this kind of situation.”
Charlton broke the deadlock after half an hour, Lennon scoring from ten yards after Rovers failed to clear a Johann Berg Gudmundsson free-kick.
Igor Vetokele was only able to head the ball straight up into the air, but it fell to the feet of Lennon, whose sliced left-foot shot was turned past Jason Steele.
Striker Tony Watt had won the free-kick and looked threatening throughout the game, beating defenders with regularity and dropping deep to make space for Vetokele up front. But Charlton undid all their good work on the stroke of half-time as Rhodes equalised for his 11th goal in 13 appearances against the Addicks.
Hope Akpan fed Adam Henley on the right-hand side, and his ball across the six-yard box found Rhodes unmarked to nod home past the weak left hand of Stephen Henderson.
The best chance of a quiet second half fell to the home side, when Gudmundsson found Vetokele in behind Shane Duffy, but his low shot was well saved by Steele to keep the game level.
The Addicks felt they should have had a penalty 15 minutes from time, when Chris Solly’s shot appeared to hit Grant Hanley’s hand from close range, but referee Rob Lewis was unmoved.
Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Lambert, though, felt his team should have taken three points.
“I thought we should’ve won it, I really do,” Lambert said.
“I thought we started the game ever so well. I think Charlton scored from their first attack of note.
“Then we come back into it with a great goal ourselves. But the second half I thought we had more of the ball.
“I knew it was always going to be a difficult game because Charlton have lost heavily in the last two games.
“The new manager coming in gives them a little bit of a lift, somebody that knows the club and he’s been there before.
“I think we always knew the atmosphere was going to be hostile, which you could hear that it was.”