Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Curbishley Keeping a Cool Head as Charlton Feel the Heat Again

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Curbishley Keeping a Cool Head as Charlton Feel the Heat Again

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

ONE of the enduring frustrations for Alan Curbishley during his decade in sole charge at Charlton is the way his team have disintegrated towards the end of a hard season. Last spring, for example, Charlton only managed three points out of a possible 27 over the run-in, yet still managed to finish 11th in the Premiership.

Curbishley thought about the problem during the early summer and moved decisively to add numbers to his squad to help avoid a repeat.

It certainly appeared to have done the trick.

Charlton looked an all-round stronger unit and were right up there with the elite early on this season.

In recent weeks, though, Curbishley's side have begun to look vulnerable again and much earlier this time. Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa was Charlton's fourth in succession and already the south London club, after setting the pace in those heady early weeks, have slipped to mid-table.

Charlton's last

win, in fact, was their memorable Carling Cup penalty shootout victory at Chelsea and, tonight, Curbishley will be desperate for his faltering team to re-ignite their season with a much improved performance in their fourth-round home tie against Blackburn.

Curbishley is not panicking just yet, but his team's poor form must give him concern. The trick in management, though, as he has discovered over the years, is to keep your head when things begin to go just a little wonky.

"I find the despondency and despair after a defeat far outweighs the pleasure of a win," said the Charlton manager. "But the trick is not to let it affect you too much. I like to keep things fairly even around here, when things are good or bad. The objective, for

all but a few of the clubs up in the Premiership, is after all, to make it to 40 points.

"The only realistic chance of us winning something is in the cups and we've been lousy in them up to now. …

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