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Michael Appleton: We managed the game really well

27 September 2020

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The Imps made it three in three as they beat Charlton Athletic 2-0 in Sky Bet League One action at LNER Stadium this afternoon.

Michael Appleton was pleased with his side for the reaction they gave in the second half. The City boss explained how the Imps were forced to defend a lot in the opening 45 minutes despite going into the break as leaders.

“I was surprised by how direct Charlton were, we didn’t deal with the first header well enough and they won too many balls from the flick on, we then had to defend lots but we stood up to them as a young group and that is really pleasing for us.”

Appleton praised his side’s game management as they added a second in the 88th to secure three points at LNER Stadium.

“We got to grips in the second half and we managed the game really well, it was pleasing” said Michael.

“It might sound crazy after what I’ve been preaching this season but sometimes, I thought we were passing it too much in the first half, but then we had lads running away from the ball in the second half which created openings. We reacted properly and didn’t let certain decisions have an effect on us.”

City defender Lewis Montsma scored his fourth goal of the season today with a powerful header at the back post following Jorge Grant’s well delivered corner.

Appleton spoke about the summer signings’ performance, praising Montsma’s style in attacking phases: “Hopefully it will become a regularity, he is dominant when the ball falls to him he is aggressive and likes to attack it, we’ve seen that with the goals he has scored so far this season.”

Michael continued by turning his attention to Jorge Grant who played 90 minutes today.

“Jorge has fantastic delivery and he puts the ball in the right areas, James Jones does the same for us as well.

“Jorge has everything as a midfield player, I’ve told him that, his stats since we had words have been excellent, the performances he has put in have shown that.

“He has played as a four, out wide and as an eight, he is really mature now. He has become a father which is a big thing so considering the last week he has had, he is clearly getting enough sleep to keep performing the way he has.”

Another player Michael Appleton was pleased with was Imps number nine, Tom Hopper. The striker won a number of free kicks for City this afternoon, causing real problems for Charlton’s defence.

“Tom is clever, he knows how to get across people and win fouls,” explained the City boss.

“He gets the first touch and draws the foul. He has been great for us this season and I thought he was going to get the goal he deserved towards the end.

“Their attackers tried to do the same but Jacko (Adam Jackson) and Lewis (Montsma) have done great today.”

The Imps currently sit joint second in Sky Bet League One after winning all three of their opening games.

Michael finished by commenting on the start to the season saying it has been a tough month for the Imps.

“It is still early days, but you need to get off to a good start and we have done that despite it being a tough September with lots of games.

“We now have a free week which will give the lads some days off to recover before we play Blackpool.”

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