Neil Harris pre Charlton press conference

Last updated : 23 November 2019 By Michael Morris

First question - how has it gone so far?

Been fantastic, everybody, from staff at training ground, are hard-working bunch. It’s been a mad week, but the people have been fantastic, they can’t do enough.

The national game was a great opportunity to get to know people and see what football means to the country. Was fantastic evening, pleased for Ryan and the boys, great for football in the country and the city, fans are buzzing. Hopefully we’ll take that good will into the weekend

Didn’t get a chance to see Wales boys train, but saw Ryan about. Would be great to catch up, they’ve had a great rise in the last few years


Getting up to speed?

Day one is about getting to know people, from the press conference to the staff. You have to get to know their attributes to work out how to move forward. Then you get to know the players and what makes them tick. A lot of players are unsure when a new manager comes in, but you have to lift those spirits and get your methods across.

The players have been outstanding, as you’d expect, it’s not a revolution, it’s trying to add my own thoughts on to it and let the players know themselves.

The players who are fit are champing at the bit to pay on Saturday.


If I’d come in a week earlier I would have had time. We’ve had a lot of players away and had a long injury list. It’s good to have had a full week but some came back in on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s about getting the messages across while preparing for a Charlton team who are very unpredictable


Looking forward to it and really exciting. Charlton are possession-based team who want to dominate. They can be unpredictable in their systems. We didn’t want to give the players information overload. We want to be attack-minded at the right times but hard to break down. We’ve got some great footballers in that dressing room

Facing Bowyer?

He was linked with the job, but he’s done fantastic at Charlton and they’ve had some real momentum from last season. Had a real strong start, not so much recently. Lee has spoken about injuries and not being able to fill a bench but we’ll see when we get there.

I know Lee, it’s going to be competitive, tough challenge at The Valley but a game we’re ready for.

Players have had structure this week, we’re ready

Squad fitness?

Mozza is looking OK, trained all week, Jazz and Armand haven’t played so aren’t there. Glatzel has a tight hamstring so we’ll make a decision on that. Ralls is a superstar but need to get him fit as well

A balancing act?

There is a small element of knowing the players, I’m aware of players but it’s about judging what I’ve seen. Players who have been at it in training and those who are implementing ideas in training.

We have to get the balance right, stopping Charlton and going the other way as well.

Some of the players haven’t played a lot. Might mix things up for Tuesday, I like stability

Team built on strength?

The spirit, desire comes with momentum, it’s had a really positive effect but it’s been a difficult time with stuff behind the scenes.

Relegation knocks confidence, we have to try and bring it back together. That’s my first job, making sure everyone is supportive of that.

We want friendly rivalries fighting for positions, when you get that then the challenges and shots on goal that football fans want to see, I’m sure that’s what City fans want to see.

Thoughts on senior players?

Young players want to impress but senior players can sometimes be a bit more edgy. Mozza and Sol have been amazing and Marlon Pack. We’ve had some really good chats, I’ve got to know their family situations


No promises that we’ll be in the top six, we want to be. Have I got the players? Yes. Got good individual abilities, it might take six games to get them back together. I came here to get team back to the Premier League. I want to include young players a chance like Coxe and Brown


I’d like to lean on Under 23s but only if they’re good enough. James McCarthy has great work ethic and wants players to come through. I’m trying to avoid questions on the January window as we’ve got three games this week. We might be a bit light in a few areas but we need to give players like Jazz Richards the opportunity to get fit.

We have 40 days between now and January, the first 15 days are so important. Then we’re looking at 30 days where we have to get the right balance and right numbers in the squad.