Connect with us

Women's Championship

Riteesh Mishra on squad turnover and the obstacles of playing in London

Following a storming first season in the Women’s Championship when they mixed it at the top of the table and gave both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur a run for their money, Charlton Athletic have come back to earth with a bang this term.

Having lost a glut of players, with more new faces around the team than pre-existing, finding familiarity and rhythm has so far eluded the Addicks this season. And whilst it’s easy to look at their position four games into the 2018-19 season (with two wins, a draw and eight goals scored in their locker) their run this year is often thrown about without context. Not only have Charlton lost their core from last season but have been given a trial by fire this campaign with four of their first five matches against the four teams most expect to be slogging it out for top spot. Although the team are bottom of the table, they’ve also played the least number of games than anyone else in the division, their lack of goals not for a lack of trying.

Playing at the Valley in front of a 913 strong crowd this weekend, the Addicks did well to keep themselves in the game before letting a sloppy goal in. Two of the next three conceded, sublime strikes that left goalkeeper, Katie Startup without much chance of saving either before Melissa Johnson completed her hattrick with the team spent. Despite the strength of full-time Aston Villa, the scoreline is one that flatters the league leaders.

Speaking about the summer window just gone, Charlton manager Riteesh Mishra was honest about the task facing himself and the team to be able to compete in the league,

We lost important players who allowed us to play in a certain way and we’ve lost probably our best four or five players and it’s hard to replace. We’ve brought in players who have a good calibre, good young players who are hungry, we need to get them to work together and that’s the challenge we have at the moment.”

A team who looked right at home in the league following their promotion from the third tier, before the start of their second season in the Championship, there remained a good buzz around Charlton but for Mishra, stability has become the main focus,

At the start of the season, everybody – because we had a good year last year – was tipping up to be one of the ones to be promoted but I knew how many players we had coming in and out, that that was going to be difficult so we can’t really focus on anything other than the next fixture coming up. We need to get back to a situation where we’re in games and we get results.”

With the top two tiers in England weighted very much towards the south and teams in and around London, players routinely make a lot of moves around the capital as Charlton, Crystal Palace, London City Lionesses, London Bees and even Spurs and Watford share players around. The oversaturation a problem for a lot of teams around the same level and financial scale, as the coach admits,

There’s not enough good players to go around the teams if I’m being totally honest and unlike other areas in the country you don’t have the luxury of players being able to travel from different cities to come and play for you so I do think it is an issue but you know it’s an issue that just not we face but everybody does.”

He continued, “So we have to make sure that the players we bring in… I think we’ve got a good group and they’re players we want to work with and we brought them here for a good reason and there are a lot of players who wanted to come here who haven’t joined us because we chose not to so we’ve got a group that we want we’ve just got to try and get more out of them.”

More in Women's Championship