Bowyer claims Charlton have surprised their Championship rivals
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer feels the Sky Bet Championship has underestimated his newly promoted side as the Addicks secured a deserved point away at Fulham.
Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher put the visitors ahead in the 41st minute, before Ivan Cavaleiro restored parity after a fine run and finish for Fulham 10 minutes after the restart.
Macauley Bonne’s header put Charlton back in front inside 120 seconds, but Aleksandar Mitrovic smashed home from close range in the 63rd minute as Fulham levelled again.
Charlton keeper Dillon Phillips made a brilliant save to deny Bobby Decordova-Reid in stoppage time as honours finished even, much to the delight of Bowyer.
“We’re nearly a quarter of the way through the season and we’ve done ourselves no harm,” he said. “We’ve gone toe to toe with Fulham, Leeds and Swansea all in one week and we’ve been OK.
“It doesn’t surprise me because I believe in the players I have. I know they’ll give me 100 per cent every time and I know they can play football.
“We’ve just come up and I was hoping that teams would underestimate us a bit and that’s what’s happening. Whoever you’re playing you must respect the other team whether you’re better than them or not. I’m not saying Fulham didn’t, but the way we play and press, we’ve surprised teams.
“It was a very good result for us. It was the minimum we deserved. The players gave me everything again and you’re talking about a Fulham side who will be in the top two or three this season.”
Fulham boss Scott Parker was frustrated that the enforced international break had now arrived. The Cottagers are unbeaten in six and Parker was keen to maintain his side’s momentum.
“The hangover from last year was still there early in the season but in the last two or three weeks I feel the tide is firmly with us,” said Parker. “The international break has probably come at a bad time. We’re 11 games down but I like where we are and we’re a very good side.
“Along the way there will be some bumps. A year ago a bump would flatten us. We need to understand that when the bumps come we need to be man enough to stand up to them.”
Having twice come from behind, Fulham were denied victory when Phillips made a stunning stop to keep out Decordova-Reid’s volley in stoppage time.
Parker added: “I’m probably a little bit disappointed we’ve not come out winners in the end. I thought they caused us problems in the first half and were worthy of a one-goal lead. The game was pretty stretched and we looked like we lacked a little bit of energy.
“But second half we changed it around a little bit and we had a couple of glorious chances and the keeper has pulled off a world-class save.
“I was pleased with the character we showed. One thing I said we needed to address and change here was the mentality. That takes time. This is a team that three months ago was used to losing football matches and got relegated. There are still some scars but every day we work on that.
“We’re a big team in this league. Sides will come here and pay us a lot of respect and we need to live up to that and then our quality will prevail.”