Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez hailed striker David Healy after his goal helped the Cottagers come back from behind to beat Bolton 2-1.

Two goals in three first-half minutes allowed Fulham to forget about an early opener from Heidar Helguson – a player Sanchez had sold in the summer – and Alexey Smertin’s deflected long-ranger ended up being the decider.

The game’s best strike belonged to Northern Ireland international Healy however, who wasted no time firing home on the turn despite having little space in a crowded penalty area.

It was his second goal in as many Premier League games following his summer switch from Leeds and added to his previous exploits at international level when he had brought about the downfalls of both England and Spain to name but two.

Sanchez was happy to let the player take the plaudits even though he had been the only top-flight manager willing to take a gamble on the former Manchester United trainee, who could not always get a game at Elland Road.

He said: “We were just trying to work out the figures but I think David has scored something like 23 goals in 29 games under me as a manager so I had no doubts he would score goals.

“All I can do as a manager is give players the opportunity to perform at this level and give them the chance to prove they are good enough. Then it is all down to them so it is not about me being vindicated.”

Helguson had taken advantage of an error by goalkeeper Tony Warner, who allowed the ball to squirm from his grasp from a throw-in, to give Bolton the lead.

Sanchez blamed the wet conditions however and insisted the former Liverpool man – only playing because first-choice Antti Niemi was injured – had been excellent otherwise, with one save from Nicolas Anelka especially impressive.

He said: “Everyone knows it was a mistake and the ball was like a bar of soap. But it takes character to cope after that and he had an excellent game.”

The result left Bolton without a point following their opening day defeat at home to Newcastle but manager Sammy Lee was upbeat nonetheless.

He said: “You have always got to be prepared to work hard in football. I knew that as a player, as a coach and now I know it as a manager. In football, you don’t always get what you deserve.

“But the pleasing thing for me was the application and the work ethic of my players. They adapted to the conditions very well, as did both sets of players, and it was disappointing we didn’t get anything out of the game.”