Against play-off contenders Ipswich on Tuesday, Charlton Athletic showed a residue of the spirit that saw them defeat Birmingham at the weekend – but a goalless draw was no use to either side.
The Addicks now found themselves seven points adrift and while salvation was always a longshot, Jose Riga has now thrown hopes of staying in the Championships to the heavens in search of a response.
He said: “You have seen from that performance that we have the drive, will and commitment to fight until the end, until it is mathematically not possible. But we will need to create a miracle.”
If there was to be some more earth-bound endeavour it was to be found at Portman Road where Charlton were unfortunate not to leave Suffolk with the three points. The devil came in the form of Ipswich goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski who pulled off a string of fine saves.
Riga added: “We did very well and tried to play football while enduring a tough challenge. We created good opportunities and was strong both offensively and defensively. “The only thing missing was the one goal and we deserved to take all three points. We were not lucky with the other results but we have to keep performing.”
Johann Berg Gudmundsson was forced off early with a head injury which was a sign of frustrations to come but the team had a good strategy – solid in defence and playing off the counter with Ademola Lookman and Yaya Sanogo looking sharp.
Riga added: “I am very happy because the players answered the game plan very well. They performed and showed that they are committed. That is the way we have to keep doing things.
“The other results have not gone in our favour and that is a great pity because even late in the game with some set-pieces we had chances to score.”
But now he says he’s immediately looking forward to the next game – a tough away tie against QPR, although the west Londoners, unlike their south east neighbours, are playing for little more than pride.