Riga to take crash course in Charlton-Millwall rivalry

08:30 14 March 2014

Charlton Athletic Manager Jose Riga on the touchline. Picture: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

Charlton Athletic Manager Jose Riga on the touchline. Picture: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

EMPICS Sport

New Charlton head coach Jose Riga has reassured fans that he will be brought up to speed on the club’s rivalry with Millwall ahead of Saturday’s south-east London derby.

Riga was brought in by Addicks owner Roland Duchatelet just hours after the sacking of Chris Powell, and the former Standard Liege boss watched his side draw 0-0 with Huddersfield in his first game in charge on Wednesday night.

Charlton are bottom of the Championship, three four points behind Ian Holloway’s Millwall, and have not won at The Den since 1995.

Riga is a newcomer to English football and, asked if he is aware of the rivalry between the two sides, he said: “More and more, yes.

“Some players were already speaking about that game [before the Huddersfield game] and the staff too.

“I know that it’s very important not only because we have to win games and take points but because it’s a derby.

“I think, day after day, I will know more about it.”

Coaches Alex Dyer and Damian Matthew are the men charged with briefing Riga on the rivalry.

Dyer said: “Between now and the game we will discuss it and we will come up with answers.

“I will brief him on the reaction between the two [sets of] supporters, the crowd, the rivalry.

“They already know a little bit but by the time me and Damo speak to them, they will know a lot more. We all know what it means to this football club.”

Riga has yet to pen a contract with Charlton and hinted that his long-term future at the club depends on whether they beat the drop.

“I have a challenge,” he said. “We know how many games until the end of the season. I hope I will not wait until the last game to be sure that we stay in this division.”

Asked if he wants to be at Charlton next season, he said: “I don’t know. I’m not the guy who decides. The most important is the present.

“I don’t want to say too much because it’s only the first game. It was not easy in two days to build something consistent. All together we have done it, now it’s a second step.”

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