Luzon aiming high next season


Guy Luzon is confident he is the right man to lead Charlton Athletic to promotion next season, although the recent 3-0 defeat against champions Bournemouth illustrated the tough task he faces.

The Charlton manager claimed only one win in April, but he believes a run of seven victories out of nine matches between February and March that lifted the Addicks to mid-table safety has convinced fans he deserves another chance.

Luzon bears no grudge about the lukewarm reception he received at the Valley in January. "Any Israeli coming to coach in England won’t get the same reception as a Spanish or Italian coach," he said. "That’s not antisemitism, they just don’t count Israel when it comes to football.

"If I was a manager in high-tech, they’d greet me here as if I was fantastic just because I’m Israeli."

Luzon’s wife, Dana, and their two children remain in Liege, where he began the season as manager, and will only join him in London when the school year ends.

After finishing second in the Belgian League last season with Standard Liege, a difficult start to the season saw him sacked in October. But owner Roland Duchatelet, who also owns Charlton, kept faith in Luzon and has given him another chance in England.

Luzon understands that only a promotion challenge next season will keep him in the job. He said: “Nobody is going to give me a Premier League team to manage.

"My only hope is to take a modest team like Charlton and build them into a Premier League outfit. To do it next season, we will need to keep our key players and to add another five or six players in appropriate positions. That will be my target."

A former manager of the Israel under-21 team, Luzon says he would love to manage the Israel national team. “We need a more professional approach in Israel and that’s what I see here in England.

"When Wales came to Israel for the Euro qualifier, they approached the game with respect for the opposition. Israel thought they were going to put on a show and win easily. In the end they were thrashed.”

One player who will not be involved in Luzon’s revolution at The Valley is countryman Tal Ben Haim. The defender made 35 appearances for the club but was released this week.

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