No way Jose will lose faith

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Sam Tobin

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.”

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