Lee Bowyer says Charlton were playing as individuals before he took charge.

The Valley caretaker boss quickly stamped that out - and demanded more professionalism from his promotion-chasing stars.

Charlton were five points from the top six when Bowyer replaced Karl Robinson in March. And now, a revived Charlton take on Shrewsbury in the play-off semi-final first leg tonight.

Bowyer said: “The first time I stood in the meeting room, I made them believe in themselves. They're a good team, every single player there is good at something.

“You've got your defenders, they're all good at defending in different ways. You've got your midfielders, they're all different. The attacking players, there are two or three that are quite similar, there’s a Ben Reeves, who’s a bit of everything.

“Then you've got your strikers, Nicky Ajose who is a proven striker at this level, Josh Magennis is an international player, Michal Zyro, who is on loan from Wolves, is an international player.

“You've got all these players and for me, there was a time when they were playing as individuals. I told them that when I was the assistant, ‘you’re not going to get anywhere playing as individuals’.

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“I just got that out and said ‘if you're going to go anywhere and get promotion, you have to start playing as a team and work hard for each other’. I believe that’s the way football should be played.

“You play and you fight for each other. Once you win the ball, then you play because we've got some outstanding players that can hurt teams.”

That change has paid dividends as Charlton won six of their remaining 10 games to secure a play-off place.

Bowyer also called for more professionalism in and around the training ground.

He added: “That [playing as a team] was the only difference I made and a bit more professionalism.

“Not being late for meetings, something so small and then that carries out on to the pitch. They would have been thinking on a Tuesday, I’ll just get through training today.

“But you can’t do that and then turn up on a Saturday and turn it on and become a different player. It isn't like that. You have to train the way you play.

“That’s the intensity I’ve asked for - you train the way you play. If you watch training here, it’ll be the same intensity that you see on Thursday. That’s the way it’s been every day.”

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