CHARLTON midfielder Bradley Pritchard does not believe his side have a problem with seeing out games.
Last weekend the Addicks dominated the first half of the south London derby at Crystal Palace, only to leave Selhurst Park on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline.
A week earlier the Addicks led Sheffield Wednesday going into the closing stages before eventually losing 2-1, but Pritchard believes the two results can be put down to coincidence rather than a bad habit.
“It looks a lot worse because it has happened in two consecutive games,” said Pritchard.
“If you look at it in the past we have managed to see games out like at Burnley where we led 1-0 and got the three points.
“I think it has just been emphasised because it has happened in back-to-back games.
“We can’t get into a frame of mind where we are constantly worried about teams scoring against us. We’re still in a good place.
“In our last five games we have had three wins and two losses.
“We’re still playing well in the majority - I’d say 80 per cent of each game.
“The gaffer said this week we’d got 17 points from the first 15 games and 22 points in the second 15, so it’s a steady progression and a steady improvement.
“We want to better the 22 points total we have achieved in the second third of the season.
“Hopefully when you look at the season and split it into thirds, we will be able to say there has been a steady progress.”
Pritchard added: “We created so many good opportunities in the first 60 minutes or so against Palace.
“Johnnie Jackson had one or two opportunities, as did Lawrie Wilson, myself and Ricardo.
“The gaffer has always said he wants us to be attacking and wants us to create opportunities, so the good thing is we are doing that, not just last weekend but in the games before we have created a lot of chances too.
“But it just wasn’t to be and we couldn’t double our lead.
“We would need to be worrying if we weren’t defending and not creating either, but that is not the case at all.
“Granted, we haven’t had a clean sheet in a few games now, but we have always put ourselves in the position where we can be attacking.
“If you look at Blackburn for example, they got it back to 1-1 but we got back in front and still created opportunities there, so we were good for the three points.
“Against Sheffield Wednesday we created a lot of opportunities, but I guess it is about being clinical in attack and also keeping your concentration while defending.”
The Championship has a reputation for being unpredictable and this season has not failed to disappoint.
All three teams relegated from the Premier League last year currently find themselves in the bottom half of the table.
Blackpool and Saturday’s opponents Birmingham, who both were relegated in 2011 and reached the play-offs last season, are also in the bottom half of the table.
Charlton are currently on a two match losing streak after winning their previous three, with Pritchard unable to explain the Championship’s inconsistencies.
“It’s organised chaos at the moment,” he said.
“The only thing you know will happen for definite is the fixtures -they are the only thing you can depend on.
“Apart from that, it’s madness out there.
“You’ve got Peterborough going to Cardiff and winning when Cardiff had been unbeaten at home.
“We have played well against the bigger teams and maybe not done as well against teams you look at and think you should be getting points off of.
“It is so unpredictable, which is why I think it needs such strong characters to say ‘look, amidst all the chaos you’ve just got to be focused on your job, get points and just hope for the best really’”.
“I wouldn’t say we were complacent at all.
“We’re a newly-promoted team, we haven’t got anything to be complacent about.
“This is the first season at this level for many of the players in our team.
“All we can do is try and give a good account of ourselves in every game.
“But why the league is so unpredictable, I couldn’t tell you.”
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