Embleton praises treble hero Dan Johnson for 'perfect response' to being dropped
Ross Embleton hailed top scorer Dan Johnson for his ‘unbelievable’ hat-trick that secured a 3-0 win against Harrogate at Brisbane Road.
It was reportedly the first treble by an O’s player at the stadium for 13 years and was the perfect response to being left out of the starting line-up in last week’s defeat at Colchester.
The handsome win also ended a mini-slump of four straight defeats and has restored the optimism about the East London side’s ambitions. They are just below the play-off positions.
“It was an ingenious piece of management leaving him out last week,” the O’s boss joked.
“People don’t get to hear my rationale and reasons, but I had them. Me and Dan had a conversation and when you make decisions like that and you don’t win, you’re wrong.
“Danny understood why, although he was disappointed. He’s come out today and he’s done exactly what you would hope a striker would do – or any player – in terms of showing what he’s all about.
“He’s our top goalscorer and his hat-trick today was unbelievable.
“The first one he almost waits and slides it in the corner, which has become a bit of a Danny Johnson finish – the second one’s unbelievable, on the bounce to hit it while he’s on the run.”
Embleton believes having no midweek fixture lay behind an invigorated performance, with a week on the training ground contributing to a relaxed atmosphere heading into the match.
“A week of training just reduced the pressure a bit,” he said. “It gave everyone the chance to breathe. We didn’t have to travel, we didn’t have to get home late. There were numerous things to make it a positive week for us. I thought that we were very solid defensively and then quite devastating when we counter-attacked.
“We don’t fear anybody. There’s perspective on today’s result, but we feel upbeat because we’re back to winning ways.
“We can’t get carried away. When we felt we weren’t great, we went on a four-game run of good results, but then you click your fingers and we’ve had a dodgy couple of weeks, so we need to keep some perspective on it, but it’s a real delight to see us keep a clean sheet today.”
The first goal in the Johnson trilogy came after a wonderful assist from Conor Wilkinson, who also drew much praise from the boss.
“Conor’s start to the game was fantastic,” Embleton said. “There were little moments in his game that showed if he can accept doing the simple, tidy things, it gives him such a platform to be the match winner that he can be.
“When you see him hitting diagonals passes across the pitch and the one v ones – he won nigh-on every header in the first half – it gives him such a massive platform.”