“DELIGHTED” was probably the last word you expected to hear from Derek Adams after Argyle lost 2-0 at Charlton Athletic, giving up an eight-match unbeaten run and relinquishing their place in the Sky Bet League One play-off places.
However, the Argyle manager was eager to paint the bigger picture as the Pilgrims prepare for the final eight games of the campaign as live promotion contenders, along with their victors at the Valleyand several other teams.
“We’re just delighted to be in the position that we’re in,” he said. “We’ve got to be turning cartwheels. We’ve got 57 points after getting promoted last year, and we’ve just dropped out of the play-off places. We’re really delighted with the season we’re having.”
The match was watched by more than 3,000 of the Green Army, who, judging from their reaction at the final whistle, also took the defeat on the chin.
“They were fantastic, and they created a very good atmosphere,” said Derek. “When you go to any away game and take as many supporters as we did, and not create enough opportunities, they’re obviously going to go home disappointed.
“They’ve got to remember the tremendous run we’ve been on. Last year, we set a club record of 13 away wins, and this year we’ve gone on and done really well away from home.”
Charlton got off to a flier, scoring in the second minute through Lewis Page’s long-range screamer. Their diamond-shaped midfield proved demanding of the Pilgrims before and after they doubled the lead in the first quarter when Michal Zyro headed in at the near post.
“We didn’t deal well with the cross,” said Derek, “but we didn’t deal with a number of situations, especially in the first half. Our spacing wasn’t correct and that was causing us problems.
That’s not taking anything away from Charlton. I thought they ran forward and created chances.
“Our two number 10s didn’t deal well with [Jake] Forster-Caskey, and that caused us a problem. That’s why we had to make a change – Graham Carey and Ruben [Lameiras] didn’t do their defensive job at that stage in the game, and that allowed Forster-Caskey to get on the ball.”
Despite introducing Alex Fletcher as a second striker to support Ryan Taylor, shortly after half-time, and matching Charlton’s diamond, Argyle were unable to make headway.
Derek said: “We played a different formation to try and stop them. Forster-Caskey got through, who I thought was very good at times for them, and we had two strikers up front in the second half, who didn’t get much change from their two centre-halves.
“I thought that [Jamie] Ness, [David] Fox and Moses [Makasi] did well in midfield as a three, and it was a hard shift for them. I thought that they were the three that stood out for me.”