This was not how it was supposed to be. After a summer that signalled that the management of Charlton Athletic finally understood what the team needed and with new manager Russell Slade’s positive message ringing around the Valley, two defeats in four days was not how the script should have read.
On Tuesday night, League Two opponents defeated League One visitors in the EFL Cup with Harry Pell’s 17th minute goal doing the damage.
The Essex side went ahead from a Daniel O’Shaughnessy’s long throw-in allowing Pell to punish his former club.
The two defeats both had mitigating circumstances. The 2-0 loss in the first League One match was away at Bury, never an easy trip, and Tuesday’s cup exit was used by Slade as a chance to blood some young players including academy graduates Ezri Konsa and Brandon Hanlan.
With Liverpool the latest in line to lure away Addicks prospect Ademola Lookman, it was a chance for the club to maintain the momentum of the academy programme.
Slade said afterwards: “We made a few changes from Saturday. It was good to see the young lads come in for their debuts and it’s good experience for them. We created opportunities to get a goal, but it wasn’t to be.
“Ezri was absolutely outstanding, very good for an 18-year-old at the back. It was a difficult game for him against on of the most robust strikers in the lower leagues and I thought he was magnificent. Going forwards, we’ve got a really good prospect.”
Charlton had a lot of possession but it will be worrying that they have yet to score a goal.
Slade said: “I thought that despite the changes there were some enterprising bits of play at times but can we improve? Yes, certainly. I’m not making excuses, we’ve lost two games.”
Saturday brings the first home game of the season (Northampton, August 13) with a chance to “build a fortress” according to Slade.
“There is a great belief in the changing room about what we are doing, but it’s not coming out in the pitch. There are patches,when we move the ball quickly and there were parts of enterprising football that we need to build on.”
Last season, the Valley became the epicentre of protests over the Addicks' Belgian management. There have been no public indications yet whether the campaign of disruption will continue.
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