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Charlton Athletic 2 v 0 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 7th December 2021 Kick-off 19:45
McGreal: Nowhere Near Good Enough
Tuesday, 7th Dec 2021 23:21

Interim manager John McGreal admitted the Blues were “nowhere near good enough” as they were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Charlton at the Valley.

McGreal, in charge for the first time following Paul Cook’s sacking on Saturday, agreed it was a hard night for Town having spent a lengthy period talking to the players in the dressing room before appearing in front of the media.

“It was. I thought we were in the game for 20 minutes and then there just seemed to be a bit of a period where you could sense it going after 20 minutes and obviously they scored the goal,” he reflected. “For me it looked onside, but someone’s saying it was a little bit tight.

“But for 10 or 15 minutes after that, we just lost our way a little bit. Couldn’t get the first pass away, couldn’t really control the ball as we’d like, there was a little bit of a fear factor.

“But then I thought we just got it back a little just before half-time and I thought ‘OK, at least we’re still in the game’.

“But in the second half we were literally our own worst enemy. I think we were in possession, there was a turnover and just a simple ball puts them clean through. That’s been our achilles’ heel at times, especially tonight anyway.”

Confidence an issue? A hangover from the weekend’s events? “Obviously confidence is a bit of an issue at the moment. You don’t need for me to tell you that. But again it’s our job to pick it up.

“Training was bubbly. Again, today the warm-up was very good, they’re saying the right things, the energy levels seemed to be there, the performance was there but it’s nowhere near long enough, nowhere near good enough to carry us through to get something out of the game. Charlton were well worthy winners.”

George Edmundson spoke to the media after the game and said the players were honest during the lengthy dressing room chat after the match. Is that something McGreal welcomes?

“I do, but the proof’s in the pudding,” he continued. “I’ve been there before. Defeats, I’ve said to the guys, some of them have played at different levels, higher levels and I’m sure in their career to date they’ve had a massive dip in their form.

“But now to be playing for Ipswich, they’ve obviously had a massive high to come and play for Ipswich, so now we’ve got to get those boys back to that high again because there are some good players in there.

“It’s now just getting that confidence, trying to instil a bit of belief and just energise them. That’s what we’ve got to try and do, energise the team.”

How much can he do? “I’ll try my best at doing anything. I’m in for a couple of games, see where that goes and then obviously we’ll see when the new manager’s going to happen.

“My remit is literally to come in, try and energise the lads, try and get a couple of good results. It hasn’t worked tonight but we’ve got to go again. Simple as at football, you win some, you lose some.

“They’re on a bit of a low at the moment but we’ve got to go again, there’s nothing else to do. That’s what football’s about, especially in our league leading up into the Christmas period, they’re coming thick and fast.”

At the whistle Toto Nsiala was involved in a confrontation with angry supporters at the front of the stand with Christian Walton, who was acting as peace-maker, then shoved by a supporter, who as a result was led away by the police.

Asked about the incident, McGreal said: “The fans have come in their thousands and we’ve got to put performances on the pitch. It’s two weeks before Christmas, they’re putting their hands in the pocket, they’re coming in their thousands. I know as a player, especially the away fans, they come every single away game.

“Come Saturday at Wigan, there will be thousands there again. We, as a team, we’ve got to be performing better, a lot better because emotions are high at the moment with the manager going and a couple of results haven’t gone the right way. So we’ll try and rectify that for the fans.”

Asked to clarify his view of the incident, he added: “I don’t know. I sent the lads over, I always do with the fans. They pay their money to come. I sent the lads to clap the fans and that’s all I know to date.”

Town can’t spend too long licking their wounds with a visit to Wigan on Saturday, then an FA Cup trip to Barrow, before Sunderland are at Portman Road.

“You’ve just got to go again, you’ve got to go again,” he said. “You’ve got to stand up tall, get your shoulders back, get your chest out and go again because the games are not going to wait for anyone. The games are there, the fixtures are there, so you’ve just got to take it on the chin and move on.”

Is it about personality? “Absolutely. Character, a lot of character. But, as I say, if you go through individuals in there and one of the main attributes you pick would be character. Now the character’s getting tested. Let’s see what they’ve got come Saturday.”

The frustrations shown at the end weren’t just relating to today’s result or recent events at the club but two decades of underachievement at Portman Road.

“I’ve been in the door for a couple of days,” McGreall continued. “My remit was literally to put a team on the pitch. Try and get a couple of results as the interim manager. What’s gone on in the past, I haven’t been privy to that at all.

“I live in the area but I haven’t been privy to that, but with the fans, whatever type of fan, the Charlton fans get this place rocking at the minute because they’re in a good bit of form. We’ve got to try and get to that stage ourselves.”

Is he going to have the players in for work on the training field tomorrow with little time between now and the Wigan match.

“We’ve got to look at ourselves,” he added. “There’s a little bit of a chat going on in there. Obviously, the travelling that we’ve got at the moment is quite a lot. What we’ll do, we’ll assess with the staff we’ve got and we’ll come to a decision on that.”

McGreal has so far had little time to work with the squad: “Monday, an hour or two and then we travelled. We got a lot into them, a lot of prep into them, how we want to try and do things.

“And, as I say, for 20-odd minutes I thought we were OK. I thought we were well in the game, but just that confidence when the first goal goes in. You see it up and down the country, teams that are a little bit low on confidence have got to drag themselves up and we’ll be there to try and help them. That’s our remit to try and lift the lads.”

Charlton caretaker-boss Johnnie Jackson has shown what can be done from a tough position. Something McGreal would hope to emulate? “He’s doing a brilliant job. I think he’s still only interim, isn’t he? He’s got them playing a certain way, a high energy team and some quality players throughout.

“And players that are in form. That’s how he’s done it. We’re trying to do that ourselves because we’ve got another tough fixture come Saturday.”

Jackson was delighted with his side's display, which he says is as good as any they have put in since he was put in temporary charge in October.

“That’s probably the best performance yet – obviously I’ll have to watch it back to make that assessment properly,” he told South London Press.

“It’s hard, just after the game when the emotions are still pumping and the adrenaline is high, but we were completely dominant in the game. I was wondering how we aren’t further ahead before we get the second.

“At 1-0 you’re only a lucky deflection, a ricochet or them creating something – because they’ve got good players – away from perhaps it going 1-1.

“I’d have been really, really disappointed with that for my players because they wouldn’t have deserved it for the shift and performance they put in. I’d have been devastated for them.”

He added: “We’re improving all the time. We play to Conor [Washington]’s strengths, we know what his movement is like. Jayden’s physicality and Conor’s ability to run on the top line is something we could utilise even more.

“It was a great finish from Gilbs [Alex Gilbey]. I’m delighted for him because he has been outstanding for me.”

Regarding whether he will be offered the job on a permanent basis, he said: “It’s a question for Mr Sandgaard, isn’t it? You probably don’t believe me when I keep saying it, but we are in positive discussions.

“I’m hopeful we can get it sorted soon. Performances like that are only going to help.”

Photo: TWTD

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OwainG1992 added 23:28 - Dec 7
Can't really disagree with anything McGreal says.
He's in a very strange and difficult position here.
I honestly don't feel confident it will turn around anytime soon.
For me we need a big character of a manager to turn it.
Some won't like it but I honestly believe Neil Warnock would be ideal.

OliveR16 added 23:28 - Dec 7
Sacked in the morning . . .

itfchorry added 23:29 - Dec 7

backwaywhen added 23:31 - Dec 7
Honest assessment …… rattle their cages JM …. COYBs

multiplescoregasms added 23:31 - Dec 7
Same old same old. Supporters have all been saying the same stuff tonight...why the same formation? why JD out of position? Why only 1 up front? I appreciate it was his first game in charge, but surely he knows/seen/heard what the problems have been? And if anyone can explain to me what these managers see in Edwards and Evans, I would like to hear. As I have said before, we are a very average team, with very average players.

Bert added 23:32 - Dec 7
No blame attached to McGreal for the abject performance tonight. Why the heck they travel to Charlton the day before is a mystery to me. The players should pay for their own hotel bill. I wonder if they think of the 3,000 fans who trudged up to London and back tonight. As for Morsy he is no captain in my eyes. Give me Chambers any day as a leader.

multiplescoregasms added 23:34 - Dec 7
One other thing.....Jackson said in his pre match interview that with a change in manager, it made him unsure about what formation we would could have asked any one of us mate, and we would have told you it will be the same pointless 4231.

chopra777 added 23:35 - Dec 7
Honest brief. We learn from it and move on to the next next game.

ArnieM added 23:48 - Dec 7
….” I’m in for a couple of games ….”
So, new manager unveiling at Sunderland game then?

Pezzer added 23:59 - Dec 7
Playing 4-2-3-1 was the first mistake. It hasn't been a successful formation and it was just so predictable in the end. Shame Bryan Klug didnt fancy a couple of games.

herobobby added 00:02 - Dec 8
Tell you what town players, managers and owners
Near on 3,500 of us stuck with you tonight and the home and away support has been amazing this season
He is a thought how about giving a toss and giving just one ounce of passion and effort for us or is that asking two much ?

YorkshireBlue1967 added 00:06 - Dec 8
Well I’m off to Wigan on Saturday, hoping for a much more spirited display. Change the formation to 4-4-2 and give us fans something to cheer about! Apparently we were overrun in midfield, as seems to happen in so many games - so JM you’ve got to change it!

shakytown added 00:22 - Dec 8
Feel a bit for Toto as he is not the problem he always tries hard but is often put under pressure by the poor play of others. Terrible system and a non- existant midfield led by a captain who seems not to care and has no ability to lift others. Big changes needed in the attitude of a lot of players as well so a senior experienced manager is really needed.

hyperbrit added 00:56 - Dec 8
another work to rule??

hyperbrit added 01:26 - Dec 8
methinks the Chambers "vodoo" lives on

churchmans added 01:49 - Dec 8
Neil harris sacked by Cardiff for 6straight losses now the favourite with the bookies @ 1/1 to be next ipswich boss

EliteTractors added 02:06 - Dec 8
First time posting on the site, but after tonight I feel I need to. Was at the game and can honestly say it was one of the worst performances I have seen from a Town side in 20 odd years following. Total lack of confidence throughout and I hope I am wrong but it looked like a few players have downed tools after Cook's sacking, in particular our supposed captain Morsy, who I thought showed no effort or leadership throughout along with his buddy Evans, who both may one day be first to the ball or win a tackle.

Only players that can come out with any sort of credit tonight are Walton, Edmondson and a lot may disagree but Nsiala. He will never be great on the ball and I don't really care too much as long as he is given options in front of him which tonight he wasn't, so can only expect a hopeful punt up field. Could easily have been 5 or 6 without those.

EliteTractors added 02:08 - Dec 8
Major major problem coming with fans turning on the players who Morsy the other day admitted had only come for Cook

Saxonblue74 added 06:41 - Dec 8
Another round of clichè in a post match interview with "go again" a particular Town favourite over recent years. Why are so many picking out JD being out of position? He wasn't! He's played there many,many times. Also, formation? I don't care what formation they played, it should make NO difference to the passion, commitment and effort that those players show. They should be on their knees by the end of that showing the 3k+ travelling support that they care. They certainly should not have enough left in the tank to be arguing with fans who have paid their wages to produce that weak, lacklustre, amateur performance. I don't agree that this was the time to sack PC and clearly many of the players didn't want him gone either......shouldn't matter. Get your heads down and sort it out.

Woodbridgian added 07:09 - Dec 8
Never ever thought I would ever say this but if we want any chance of getting out of this league this season then we should go for Warnock. Such a dreadful thought typed this 3 times a deleted it ! Can’t believe I’m saying it! But sometimes you have to hold your nose a go for it

pennblue added 07:18 - Dec 8
The fans did their But for 30 minutes but really there was nothing given from the players so it died off and it was all for charlton then.

sacking Paul Cook at this stage of the season js a massive mistake. They are mostly his players

We are where we are, we need an experienced head in now to steady this season

braveblue added 07:26 - Dec 8
Why get rid of Cook with no one lined up and bring in a total stranger who plays the exact same system? Is Evans still in charge?

BlueRuin69 added 07:44 - Dec 8
Mcgreal didnt cover himself in glory, same system, Donocien at left back but players were so poor and Morsey, who is a top player, wants out that much is clear. Players not fit to wear shirt exvept Walton, Toto and Edmundson and not Donaciens fault out of position.

Bazza8564 added 07:49 - Dec 8
Need a much more compact formation Saturday, morsy and Evans way way too deep, bonne 50 yards ahead two wingers on the touch lines and Fraser the only thing between them all. No wonder we got overrun.
Sorry I cant join the Warnock bandwagon, he’s 73 ffs
Our shape has completely collapsed in midfield, my team Saturday 532
Burns and Penney wb
Edmundson, Burgess donation CB
El Mizouni DMF
Carroll Chaplin creative MF
Pigott and Norwood

Humphreys was close too

Help added 07:49 - Dec 8
Chopra - do we learn from it, because the players dont. I realise JmG did not want to change things in such short time, but has he not been at games watching some of these players. Evans, if he is better than other midfielders at this club God help us. Will the players play better in a different formation. I doubt it. They are footballers, they should be able to play football whatever the formation.

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