Football - Appleton: Players must toughen up

Blackburn manager Michael Appleton said his players would have to learn to deal with criticism from the Ewood Park faithful after his first game in charge ended in a 2-1 defeat to Charlton.

PA Sport

Dale Stephens' stunning strike put Charlton ahead before Jordan Rhodes headed in his 15th league goal for Blackburn.

But the Addicks snatched the points through Yann Kermorgant's firm header, and the end of each half was greeted with boos from the supporters.

"I think the atmosphere in the stadium was a strange one so I think they've got to deal with that," Appleton said.

"They're a big fish in a smaller pond to what they were in last year in terms of the Premier League.

"There's added pressure that goes with that and they're going to have to cope with it because we have three home games coming up in quick succession and it's going to be a challenge for everyone.

"I'm sure the supporters just want to see a committed performance from the players. I think they huffed and puffed but I'm not sure how committed they were once we conceded the second goal, which was a disappointment.

"There's no time to shirk your responsibilities. We're professional people, whether you're manager, coach or a player. You've got to take the responsibility that goes with it."

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