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After unleashing the exocet that broke Manchester United hearts on Monday night, Fulham hero Papa Bouba Diop explained what on earth his celebratory run almost the whole length of the pitch back to the Cottage was all about – and he also revealed that an earlier kick from Ryan Giggs meant that he almost didn’t have the strength to make it!

“I had friends sitting there,” he said after the match. “They told me before the game that they would pray that I score a goal and that if I did I should go to them.

“So it was an automatic reaction – although I was a little bit tired by the time I got there! But although I was tired, I’m glad I made the effort.”

Diop had no explanation for the ‘Sean Davis shuffle’ that he indulged in afterwards with Collins John, and for all concerned it might be best if a veil be quickly drawn over that one, although Fulham fans will be happy enough putting up with his dancing escapades if he continues to test the stitching on the back of the net in such devastating fashion.

Diop laughed away the fact that he was limping after the game, explaining that the knock wasn’t serious. Clearly he preferred to concentrate on the team and the result, and he went on to talk about the belief in the side that enabled them to get something out of a match in which they looked dead and buried.

“Even in the first half we believed,” he said. “The coaches told us not to give up in the second but to keep on playing, and we always believed we could get something out of the game.

“After we conceded the goal, it was important that we didn’t concede a second and a third, but we were strong and we gave ourselves the encouragement to come back.

“I like to score goals, I like to score great goals – I like to score as many as possible. But with two minutes to go in that situation, I had no option but to hit it from where I was. I’m always trying; I’m always burning to have a shot. I have confidence in myself, so I’ll always have a go.

“It’s not important what system you play – the difference is the players. Players playing for each other is what matters. It’s how the players react that is important, and we reacted well against United.”

It’s Charlton up next for the Whites, and another Monday night televised fixture. Fulham’s recent history in front of the Sky cameras might not have been the most convincing, but they’ve got a good record against Charlton, losing only once in seven League and Cup games since reaching the Premiership, and currently hold the edge in all-time League victories – 17 wins to 16.

Alan Curbishley’s side have struggled to find the consistency that has epitomised their organisation and hard work in recent years, but despite that, the Addicks lie in eighth place, and will be looking to build on their good home record to consolidate their position in the top half of the table.

Diop warned of the danger of underestimating sides like Charlton – they might not have the aura or the presence of a Manchester United, but they are formidable opponents, difficult to beat on their own patch, and Fulham will have to be at their very best to get something out of the game.

But if the Whites can continue to show the form and the resilience that they have over recent matches, then they can go to the Valley with confidence and optimism.

“It’s obviously good to get a point off a big team like Manchester United,” Diop said. “But we mustn’t underestimate all the other teams in the league, and it’s important to play well in every single match in this division. You can never underestimate anybody in the Premiership, and we must take that attitude to Charlton next week.

“If we show the heart and the togetherness that we did in the second half against United and go there focussed and determined, then we can make sure that our run continues.”