Charlton’s players need to start believing they are worthy Championship competitors, says manager Lee Bowyer, after starting the season with successive victories.
The Addicks beat Stoke City 3-1 to join Sheffield Wednesday as one of only two second-tier teams with a 100% record after two games.
“Sooner or later they’ll start to realise that they are a good side and they do deserve to be in this league,” Bowyer, who guided Charlton to promotion via the League One play-offs last season, told BBC Radio London.
“When people keep saying negative stuff and saying we’ll get relegated, it’s tough for them.
“I’m constantly telling them that they’re good and they’ll surprise teams. If teams do underestimate us, that’ll be their choice. We’ll be professional and respect everyone we play.”
Lyle Taylor fired Charlton into the lead at The Valley, only for Tom Ince to level before half-time.
Substitute Chuks Aneke scored six minutes into his Charlton debut to restore the home lead after 75 minutes and on-loan midfielder Conor Gallagher hit a late third to seal the points.
“My lads were great again,” Bowyer added. “They keep on going and going. They’ve left everything out there and they’ve got their reward for it.
“Man for man, I thought we were stronger than them and more hungry than them. It gives you momentum and the lads are gaining confidence from these results.”
The two sides cancelled each other out in a drab opening, but Taylor broke the deadlock in the 25th minute with his second goal in as many games, collecting the ball on the edge of the box and rifling the ball into the far corner.
Taylor’s strike roused Stoke and Scott Hogan struck the crossbar before Ince snatched the equaliser, unleashing a left-foot drive that zipped into the net.
Lee Gregory squandered opportunities to put the Potters ahead either side of half-time, hitting the post and then blazing an effort over from close range after Sam Clucas had teed him up.
But Jonny Williams and Josh Cullen combined to set up summer signing Aneke, who dispatched the chance from 10 yards.
Chelsea midfielder Gallagher completed the scoring with his first senior goal seven minutes from time, finding the roof of the net after Taylor had flicked on Cullen’s corner.
Stoke City boss Nathan Jones told BBC Radio Stoke:
“We’re creating enough chances. We created 10 chances and scored one – they created four and scored three. That’s a hell of a difference and goals win games, but that’s what we’re not doing.
“We hit the post, we hit the bar – and then they’ve scored with their first chance. Second half we’re dominating the game, get a glorious chance and don’t take it and we’re hit with the sucker punch, which is frustrating.
“The third goal we got undone by a set-play, but we’re not giving ourselves a chance. People are not having to score good goals against us at the moment.
“Last year we were really sound defensively and we’re showing a little creakiness. We’ve got to be better in both boxes – in between, not a problem.”