Riteesh - We need to be more ruthless
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 3:59PM UTC, Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Riteesh Mishra was left to rue the Charlton women's team's lack of ruthlessness in all areas of the pitch as his side slipped to a 4-1 home loss to Cardiff City on Sunday.
We created a lot of good opportunities; the difference on the day ultimately was that they were more clinical in front of goal and, more ruthless in their defensive third.
Riteesh Mishra was left to rue the Charlton women's team's lack of ruthlessness in all areas of the pitch as his side slipped to a 4-1 home loss to Cardiff City on Sunday, leaving them five points adrift of FA Women's Premier League South leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
A Chloe Chivers brace and strikes from Kerry Bartlett and Hope Suominen helped the Welsh side inflict a second heavy home defeat of the season of Charlton.
And the result saw both Cardiff and Coventry United leapfrog the Addicks in the table, who slip down to fourth place, having played at least one game more than all three teams above them.
However, first team coach Mishra didn't think there was much between the two sides technically and tactically, with both having opportunities to score - the difference being Cardiff played with an arrogance and confidence, were more clinical with their chances.
Charlton, on the other hand, made what Mishra described as 'naïve defensive mistakes', which Cardiff punished.
He said: "We started the game really well - first 10-15 minutes we created some really good chances and the players played at the intensity I asked for, on and off the ball.
"But then we stepped off the gas, missed a few chances while we were on top and unfortunately allowed Cardiff to get a foothold in the game. For me, the score line is really deflating and it's a bit of a sucker punch. In truth we could have scored more, but we also deserved to concede four.
"We created a lot of good opportunities; the difference on the day ultimately was that they were more clinical in front of goal and, more ruthless in their defensive third, and unfortunately we couldn't put some of our chances away. It may have been a different game if we did.
"Apart from their third goal, the goals they created came from us giving [Cardiff] the opportunity, as opposed to them creating the opportunity and when you do that against good teams, they'll punish you. I think they did the same to us; they gave us some opportunities but we just didn't punish them.
"I cannot fault my players' efforts or commitment, and they kept going through to the end. We had some good spells, but the standards I want the club and players to live by, were not met throughout the 90 minutes, and we made some defensive mistakes as a team that cost us, against a very good Cardiff side. The players know this, and we know collectively we have lots to improve on.
"There were some positives also to come out of the game however; Katie Bottom I thought had a great debut for us, and she will only get better, and again it was a good learning curb for the youngsters involved."
Looking forward, though, Mishra hopes the three-week Christmas break will do his players the world of good, having had to cope with a lot of change at the club in the first half of the season.
Charlton are still in all cup competitions and have an SSE FA Women's Cup second round match against Portsmouth to look forward to, as well as an FA Women's Premier League semi-final against Blackburn Rovers in March.
Mishra says that the pressure is now off his side in the league and, with two clashes with Tottenham and away days against Coventry and Cardiff still to come, as well as a number of key players set to return from injury, the title is far from off the cards.
"I still firmly believe that, [although] the league looks difficult now, we've still got the top teams to play so if we can find that level of performance, be ruthless, be clinical - at both ends of the pitch - and improve in certain areas, I fully believe that we can still go and challenge," he added. "But make no mistake, we need to improve if we want to compete with the top teams in the New Year.
"The pressure is off us now - the pressure is on the other teams so if we can play with a bit more freedom and energy, and get our players from the physio room fighting fit - I still think we've got a very, very good chance.
"We've got players that are missing - the likes of Gemma, Stef, Giorgia. These are experienced players that will be a massive boost to the squad when they come back.
"We really need them to come back in, bolster the squad, compete for places and give us that level of experience, competition and energy that maybe we've been missing over the last few months in the 'big' games.
"I think this [break] has come at a good time because now the players, myself and the rest of the staff have time to reflect and digest on what has been a tough period of transition since July.
"Some time away from football with family and friends I'm hoping is going to be a good thing so, come January, we're fresh and ready to go again.
"I have full belief in myself, the staff and most importantly the players, that we can come back strong, bring performances back for the club, and create something special in 2017, but we need to improve collectively."