Doncaster Rovers: ‘We’re still in it’ – Grant McCann positive despite first leg defeat to Charlton Athletic

Herbie Kane challenges for the ball against Charlton
Herbie Kane challenges for the ball against Charlton

Grant McCann insists Doncaster Rovers are 'right in' their play-off semi-final with Charlton Athletic despite heading into the second leg a goal down.

Two goals in two first half minutes from Lyle Taylor and Joe Aribo put Charlton in firm command.

But Matty Blair pulled a goal back with a late header to give Rovers hope heading to The Valley on Friday night.

"It keeps us firmly in it," McCann said.

"I thought in the second half we were outstanding. We camped in their half, we passed and probed. We maybe lacked a cutting edge at times but we played our game.

"We possibly could have had a couple more goals. We got into good areas without having a cutting edge.

"But we're right in the tie."

McCann admitted he was disappointed with his side's first half performance despite them posing the greater threat before Charlton's two goals.

But he was much more pleased with the second half show.

"They were two sloppy goals for us to concede and the boys were disappointed at half time and we had to pick them up," he said.

"They felt a bit better at the end of the game about themselves because we showed more of what we're about.

"The first half we lacked energy and spark. We lost the ball and we didn't react quick enough to win it back. We couldn't get a foothold in the game.

"The second half we were everywhere and we were much better."

McCann took some responsibility for the first half performance and switched his system at half time with skipper Tommy Rowe replacing James Coppinger.

"Maybe the system had an effect on it and I take responsibility for that," he said.

"It doesn't matter if we play a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, the philosophy never changes at this club.

"We're a front foot team, as long as I'm the manager anyway.

"We want to get against teams and press and react well.

"We did it much better in the second half.

The Rovers boss praised Blair for his late effort, and also Mallik Wilks, who was only passed fit on the morning of the game and went on to provide the cross for the goal.

McCann said: "I'm pleased for Matty, it was a good header at the back post. Mallik did well for the cross.

"We're right in this tie now and we know what we've got to do at The Valley."

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