Riteesh confirmed as Head Coach for 2017-18
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 12:44PM BST, Friday, 12 May 2017
The Charlton women’s team are delighted to confirm Riteesh Mishra will continue as first team head coach for the 2017/18 season.
" I am very excited about next season. I've already been planning with the management team and everyone's ambition excites me".
Mishra, who joined the club two and a half years ago as under 16s assistant coach, took over the reigns midway through this season and has overseen an improvement in performances.
He won the Capital Women's Intermediate Cup as reserve team manager last season before joining the first-team fold at the beginning of the current campaign.
Under his stewardship, the Addicks have the best recent form in the FAWPL South over an eight-game period, winning six of those clashes and winning the Capital Women’s Cup.
Mishra was rewarded for those accomplishments by being named FAWPL Manager of the Month for April.
He will now look forward to his first full season in charge and has a busy off-season planned. We caught up with him at training this week.
First off, this season was your first with the first team and it's been rather a rollercoaster. How do you feel it has gone overall?
Certainly has been a rollercoaster. A lot of things have changed throughout the year. If you were to tell me when I first started in July, as Jeremy's assistant, that we would finish outside the top two, and win only one trophy, I would have been disappointed.
But the way things have panned out, with so much change in staff, and players leaving that have experience and quality, it's felt like a season of consolidation and transition. All when other teams around us have been getting stronger. But I am pleased with the last third of the season and the club is on the up on and off the field.
There's been a definite improvement in performances (particularly defensively) since the turn of the year - you must be hoping that continues going and throughout into next year?
I tried to look at what we needed to do better, and what we could realistically do about it with the current squad and time we had together.
If you take the first half of the season, we conceded too many goals, and a lot of them avoidable goals too. So I have tried to bring some shape to the group, not just the back four, but the whole group.
Without doing too much tactical work, by working collectively as a defensive unit, we've been able to protect our goalkeeper much better in the last few months, and game by game I think our defensive players have been improving. This has been important, because we know we have the firepower going forward to score goals and create chances.
But really, when I took over in the new year, the main objective I set myself was to create an environment that players and staff wanted to be involved in. I wanted to bring the enjoyment back to training and playing for this club.
I love coming in every evening, and I wanted everyone else to feel that too. I am very hands on as a coach on the training ground, but I've tried not to overload the girls with too much tactical information and structured sessions. So I think the improvements in performance have come mainly from the players enjoying football again, and enjoying working for each other more than anything.
You must be pleased to have been given the chance to continue what you have begun building and carry on as first team head coach - plus it must be important to keep some consistency for the girls?
I am firstly very proud and feel privileged. I must thank the management team here in Stephen [King, chairman] and Sue [Prior, general manager] for trusting in me and my ideas to lead the group of players and staff.
With the season we've had, I think the club needs a period of stability with its staff now to help the players. There is an environment and culture at the club that we are trying to rebuild. This will take time, but it is heading in the right direction. I think I've only scratched the surface, and I have a lot of ideas that I am keen to implement come next season.
And on next season - first off how much are you looking forward to the challenge?
Firstly everyone at the club needs some time off this summer. It has been physically and mentally draining, so a few weeks with family and friends, not thinking about football will do us all good.
I am very excited about next season. I've already been planning with the management team and everyone's ambition excites me.
But I am realistic, that it is not going to be easy, as everyone in our league will be getting better and stronger. But I have belief in my methods and the experienced people around me, that we can get the best out of our group and improve on where we've finished this season.
And what plans do you have going forward regarding improving the squad - and are there any aims/objectives you want to hit for next season?
We have a good nucleus of players here, and I think I can improve every player here. We've got some good young players in our reserves also, who are getting better week by week, but we also need new faces, some players who can give competition to everyone in the current squad, but most importantly, players who want to be here, want to be part of this project, and who will makes us better.
I have target players, ones I know, and ones who I think would complement this group really well. The challenge with women’s football, especially in London, is that everyone will be fighting for the same talent.
But with the ambition we have, the resources and facilities we have, the links with our men’s club, and the quality of our staff, I think we are a great proposition for players to come and play. I'll be working hard during the off season to make sure come pre-season, we are in good shape.