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Fulham 1-2 Charlton
CHRIS Powell praised Charlton’s battling spirit after they came from behind to win 2-1 at Fulham on Saturday in a behind closed doors friendly.
The Championship side were put under the cosh by their Premier League hosts in the first half but despite their domination, all Fulham had to show at the break was Damien Duff’s early strike.
But it was a different story after the restart as Charlton assumed control and they went away with a morale boosting victory thanks to goals from Johnnie Jackson and Yann Kermorgant.
Powell told Charlton Live: “I think it has been a good week for us in response to losing at Gillingham.
“There were one or two things I didn’t like last week, especially in the first period - and it was very similar today.
“But I think the boys have played really well this week.
“We got a good win against Southend on Wednesday and that was utilising the squad really.
“Just working up to today the boys had worked really hard.
“We had a bit of testing to see how far their fitness has improved and I think that showed today.
“As well as the occasion and coming to Craven Cottage again, I think our fitness in the last 15 or 20 minutes really told against a team that is a good Premier League side.”
He added: “They’ve got a good manager and started very well.
“They scored early but we went in 1-0 at half-time and I think the second half we dominated really.
“They had the free-kick, which was extremely well saved by Ben Hamer, and our players to a man were quite something today.
“I was very, very proud of them.”
Powell also suggested his side might have been starting to lack a bit of self belief but was nevertheless delighted with the way they eventually dispelled their fears on Saturday to come out on top against top flight opposition.
The Valley manager explained: “What’s been happening recently I don’t know if the boys have been looking at the opposition and wondering about them instead of really imposing themselves straight away.
“Of course we got caught straight away.
“They’re quality players, let’s get one thing straight.
“Mousa Dembele and Bryan Ruiz find pockets of space and they utilise it well.
“Mahamadou Diarra and Damien Duff gave Rhoys Wiggins a lot to think about and I thought Rhoys acquitted himself well, the same with Chris Solly.
“They asked questions and there were a lot of last-ditch blocks and really we never really got going, especially in the final third I felt our decisions could have been better.
So at half-time we sorted it out.”
Powell added: “I felt we needed to press it more from the front, which I thought they done particularly well, especially Bradley Wright-Phillips and Yann Kermorgant.
“And when they done that, it allowed the rest of the team to squeeze in and Fulham didn’t have as much room and space to play in.
“Once we done that I felt we just needed to be braver on the ball, which they did.
“We used the ball really well, there was a lot of good rotation coming in off the line.
“Johnnie Jackson allowed Rhoys to march on and the same on the right side.
“Then we started to create a bit of trouble in their final third.
“There were a lot of half chances but I think Jacko shows exactly what he is about, he scores goals from that left hand side.
“If you get balls inside the area, he will get on the end of it and he took it very well.
“Yann’s was an outstanding finish. It was a good build up.
“He created the first goal but Mark Schwarzer had no chance and he didn’t even dive.
“I was very, very pleased and then they hung in there.
“We tried one or two different things, I brought Lawrie Wilson on and we are going to have to see out games this year if we’ve nudged ahead.
“I thought they showed class, fitness and a real togetherness to bounce back from the first period.”
Charlton adopted a more traditional 4-4-2 formation at Craven Cottage but Powell was reticent when asked by Charlton Live if this would be used in Saturday’s opener with Birmingham.
The manager replied: “Pre-season is a time to try formations, there is no real other time to try.
“During the season when you are playing regularly Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday, you only get a day or two (in training) so we’ve tried something that may happen during the season.
“I felt after talking to the players and watching the DVDs that we just revert back to what we know that we do best, but it is not a 4-4-2 in a traditional sense.
“Bradley Pritchard, who is sort of the inside right, and Jacko is like an old fashioned inside left so they are not traditional wingers.
“They have more rotation about them, we ask Yann or Brad to drop in.
“People will always talk about formations but primarily it is all about players and their attitude to the game, their attitude to do the work, their attitude to pass the ball and create and put themselves on the line.
“My squad will always do that to a man.
“They did it again today and they worked it out themselves because Ruiz was playing really deep.”
Charlton Live is a radio show which is broadcast by supporters every Sunday night on CAFC Player between 7pm and 9pm, as well as between 1pm and 2.30pm for Saturday away games.
For more information, visit charltonlive.co.uk or follow @charltonlive on Twitter.