Steve Evans celebrated a huge victory in his first game as Peterborough United manager, but insisted his team will have to play much better to finish in the League One play-off places.
Posh thumped play-off rivals Charlton 4-1 at the ABAX Stadium today (March 10) to move up a place to seventh. It’s a likely a point at rock-bottom Bury on Tuesday (March 13) would push Posh into the play-off places.
Top scorer Jack Marriott scored twice late on for Posh to add to goals from Andrew Hughes and Marcus Maddison (penalty). Charlton caused a nervous few minutes with a 75th minute goal to make it 2-1, but crucially they had missed a penalty with the score at 1-0 to the home side.
“It was a world class performance in terms of energy and determination,” Evans said. “But it certainly wasn’t a good performance in terms of free-flowing, passing football.
“My first word to the players after the game was ‘congratulations’ because first and foremost we are here to win football matches, but I also told them not to kid themselves. We will have to play better than that to win games regularly.
“We were very good in spells, but we were also very sloppy in spells. We gave the ball away in bad areas and we lost our composuire for a bit at 2-0 up. We seemed to panic. No-one in my management team will criticise a player for getting the ball down and trying to play, but we lost our way a bit either side of their goal.
“We didn’t close people down quickly enough and we played too many weak balls in front of our back four, but I always look for a reaction from players and they gave it to me in the final 10 minutes or so. All credit to (former manager) Grant McCann and (chairman) Darragh MacAnthony for instilling the work ethic into the group. I just re-inforced it.
“Our substitutions helped us as Danny Lloyd gave us great energy and enthusiasm. And he was rewarded for being the only player not to give up the chase of a long pass by setting up the third goal.
“And most pleasing of all was Jermaine Anderson’s pass for the fourth goal. That was a world-class moment and Jermaine was only one of three players who could have played that pass. I was so made up for him as he thought I was joking when I told him he was in the squad.
“I need that quality we showed towards the end of the game for 90 minutes though. We have so many quality attacking players we should cause teams problems for longer periods. Jack Marriott is better than League One level and Marcus Maddison can be whatever he wants to be.
“I was also pleased that we stayed strong defensively. They found it hard to open us up.
“If we can combine that on a regular basis with our our attacking quality we will win a lot of games, but it’s important that we concentrate on our own game at all times.
“The players were on their phones in the dressing room checking the other results, but we can’t affect what others do. We can affect what we do at Bury on Tuesday. It’s a massive part of the season now, but we shouldn’t expect any favours from other teams.”
Central defender Ryan Tafazolli didn’t make the matchday squad because of a hamstring problem, but he should be fit for the game at Bury. Experienced midfielder Anthony Grant was left out of the squad for reasons of form.