Charlton boss Karl Robinson praised his side’s attitude as they fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat at league leaders Sheffield United.
Ricky Holmes’ early free-kick gave the Addicks the lead but Jack O’Connell’s header midway through the first period and Daniel Lafferty’s tap-in just after the interval secured all three points.
But it was a game where the Blades would have been grateful for Charlton’s wastefulness in front of goal.
Robinson insists that good performances between now and the end of the season will be the catalyst for a better campaign next year.
“The fans supported us all the way through, as they always do, but I think they’re starting to see a team that cares and is willing to run around,” said Robinson.
“The league table doesn’t lie. It’s rubbish where are, we know that. It’s about rebuilding the club. It’s been the same here (at Sheffield United). The fans here will openly say that it’s been a difficult five years inside Bramall Lane but I don’t plan to be around for that long. I plan to turn it around sooner rather than later. But I need the right players and the players to be motivated to play for the badge. We can’t fall into that rut of being in this league. We need to find some sort of momentum from now until the end of the season and grip it with both hands.
“I can’t fault the players’ mentality or effort. I said to them in there, some of them are surprising me with their mentality at the moment and I’m happy with that. You come to the league leaders and you’ve been clapped off as we walked in first. It shows you that we’ve got a lot more to come. How we played in the first 25 minutes is how I foresee this team playing. After this run of games we’ve played, more than most in League One in the last five weeks, to still have a physical output like we did today was remarkable.
“I don’t want my team to have fear – we shouldn’t, we’re Charlton.
“We should have that mentality always whilst we’re in this league. We should have this bravery and balls to go up against teams. We did. They hit us on the counter attack after a silly error from us. Both of their goals were tap-ins from four yards out and that can’t be the way. We have to work hard to get our chances. The diamond worked again, our two strikers worked their socks off. The back four looked relatively strong. I don’t think anybody can say we didn’t work hard here.”
Robinson felt his side have to learn to be more clinical at both ends of the field in order to get the points that their performance deserved today.
“In the two boxes we have to be better,” explained the 36-year-old.
“What we’re starting to get now is a way of playing. In between the boxes it’s about finding a way and dominating the possession, regaining the possession. You’ve got to find that clinical edge in the final third.
“I thought that we were the better team for large parts of the game. Certainly in the first half. To get the league leaders to change their shape after twenty minutes shows how dominant we were. They then got into the game for ten minutes. Second half we came out and got hit with a sucker punch, stupidly. From then on I don’t think Declan Rudd made a save. We’ve missed three or four good chances again.
“Ricky Holmes, who captained the team today, was quite sensational once again. He normally puts those chances in the back of the net. We’re a little bit away. I don’t think there’s many teams that have come here and outplayed them possession wise.”
The postponement of next Saturday’s home fixture means an end to an intensive five week period of two games every seven days, and Robinson says he will use the break as a chance to introduce some new fitness regimes at the club.
“It’s been hard but I’ve loved it.
“I love being involved in football. We’ll have a break, shut the place down for a few days and then go again. It will be the perfect time to test the players. Before they go we start the back end of the season so we know where they are with body fat, fitness levels and hydration levels and a number of different things that we want to start implementing internally that haven’t been there before. We can start keeping more of a monitor on what they do away from the game. “