Darren Pratley: Charlton must bounce back against “so-called champions” Leeds United

BY LOUIS MENDEZ

Charlton’s fine start to life back in the Championship has stuttered after consecutive defeats – but Darren Pratley hopes that can be put right against a side that some consider champions-elect.

Heavily fancied Leeds United visit The Valley on Saturday afternoon but Pratley hopes Charlton can use the clash to react to the losses they have suffered against Birmingham and Wigan.

“Whoever we play, we want to go into the game and win,” explained the 34-year-old midfielder.

“We want to win every game we can. We’re going into the game off the back of a defeat and we want to put that right. Especially in front of our home fans. No one likes losing games and hopefully we can get something out of the game against Leeds next week.

“Next week we’re playing the so-called champions that are expected to win the league. We’re going to have to raise it because if we play like that [against Wigan] we are going to get punished.

“We’ve had a great start. We didn’t get carried away with the start we’ve had. When you win games, you don’t go out and drink champagne and celebrate. When you lose games, you don’t go home and cry. This is going to hurt. It’s a long trip back. We feel sorry for the fans that travelled up today. We have to stick together. We have to dust ourselves down, watch the video and go again.

Photo: Sean Gosling

“We have to stick together. That’s been the best thing about this group, we’ve stuck together. We haven’t lost many games since I’ve been here. That’s the side of football where you see a different side to people. It’s nice when it’s all going well and you’re winning. Everyone is high-fiving, you’re writing good stuff. The last two games we’ve lost. We have to take the criticism that comes with it and go again next week.

“Football is easy when it is all going well and you’re winning. You’re getting pats on the back. There’s another side of football that we haven’t really experienced. But this team sticks together. No one is happy in there. We win together and we lose together. It hurts. We don’t like losing games. This league can be unforgiven sometimes. Sometimes you can go on a bad run. Hopefully we can make that right next week.

“We’ve started well. It’s a hard question after two defeats to start praising people but we’ve done OK. We haven’t hit our peak yet. We can still do better. We’re learning as a team. Some of us haven’t played in this division before. If you look at the majority of the teams, they can lose a few and then win a few. You have to keep your moral up and then go again.”

PHOTOS: SEAN GOSLING

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