Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer has told the press that he thinks a large reason for his team’s early success this season is down to the fitness of his players.
The Addicks have flown out of the blocks this season and currently find themselves sitting in second place.
Last Saturday, the club carried on their fantastic form, beating Reading 2-0 in their own backyard, meaning that they went the whole of August unbeaten – apart from in the EFL Cup when they were knocked out on penalties by Forest Green Rovers.
According to South London Press, Bowyer committed to the club despite Huddersfield Town being largely interested in the manager.
Bowyer has now come out and spoken about his side’s terrific early form, claiming that much is down to how fit his players are.
He said: “The players just don’t stop until the end.
“That makes a massive difference. Our fitness is different to other teams – we are getting stronger at the end of games.
“Okay, you have to take Brentford out of that but we had played on the Wednesday. That was the only one where we looked really tired at the end. Saturday we looked strong. Our subs made the difference when they came on. As a group, as a squad, we are in a really good place.
“I think [the fitness] is down to the way we train. Our intensity in training is really, really high. Other clubs might not train at the same intensity. We’re getting fitter from training every day and when we go into games we are taking that intensity into them.
“We can’t get carried away because the realistic aim is to stay in the league and re-establish ourselves.
“There might be patches where we lose two or three on the spin. That is when we have got to stick together – because it is going to happen, we’re only human.
They lost a big part of their team from last season when Joe Aribo and Patrick Bauer opted to start fresh at Rangers and Preston respectively; however, the recruitment that Steve Gallen and Lee Bowyer have managed to get done has worked so far. Conor Gallagher, for example, has been excellent, netting three times in six games following his loan move from Chelsea.
But apart from recruitment, fitness seems a good reason for their early success. Bowyer has not been the only one to pinpoint fitness as something that they have worked really hard on, with joint-top assist maker in the Championship Jonny Williams also bringing up how hard they worked during the off-season.
In an interview with News Shopper on August 27, Williams brought up how he’s been feeling thanks to Lee Bowyer.
“It’s the fittest I’ve felt in a long time,” he said.
“Had he (Lee Bowyer) not invited me along with the team I don’t know where I’d be fitness-wise, whether I’d played as much as I have, I probably wouldn’t have.
“I’ve had a full pre-season thankfully, and that’s down to him.
“Sometimes it’s hard to maintain for 90 minutes with the tempo I play at, but Lee’s managing me.
“It’s definitely the best start of the season of my career, performance-wise I would compare it to the time I had at Ipswich, when I went on my first ever loan.
“Working under Mick McCarthy, I played 16 games on the trot, the end product was there, and I was feeling great, it’s probably up there with that.”
From the comments from both Bowyer and Williams, there is no doubt that Bowyer has worked exceptionally hard to bring this side to fitness and to prepare them for the Championship.
If they can continue playing at this intensity, while their signings such as Gallagher keep delivering, then the Addicks could be in for a very bright campaign.
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