Chris Baird was disappointed with a ‘sloppy second half’ as Fulham finished their pre-season preparations with a surprising defeat to Charlton Athletic at Craven Cottage this afternoon.
The Whites looked in command during the first half and perhaps should have had more than Damien Duff’s early strike to show for their dominance at the break. Chris Powell’s side were much improved after the interval and the Addicks came from behind to win thanks to late strikes from Johnnie Jackson and Yann Kermogant.
Baird, who played at centre back alongside Brede Hangeland in the absence of his injured international team-mate Aaron Hughes, felt Fulham should have killed the game off before half time.
Obviously it’s disappointing to lose. We were excellent in the first half and could have been two or three up. I’m disappointed we didn’t get more goals and we were sloppy in the second half and it cost us.
We’re all disappointed but I’d rather lose this one than lose next week. We’ll go into next week looking for the three points to start us off.
The Northern Ireland defender felt Jackson’s equaliser should have been disallowed for offside – an argument which post-match replays have subsequently supported, although Fulham’s defending was lax for much of the second period.
I knew it was. I had a good position with Brede, but the assistant referee didn’t wave his flag and it’s unfortunate. For their second goal, I thought I’d got enough on the cross to clear it but it fell to their striker and he struck it well, it was a good finish from the lad.
That was the story of the second half, they were first onto everything. But we’re looking forward to next week and getting off to a good start.
Despite the defeat to their London rivals, Baird believes Fulham are in good shape after a testing summer schedule and is confident that Martin Jol’s side can get off to a good start against Norwich at the Cottage next weekend.
It’s been a good pre-season. That was our first loss. We’ve still got a week to go and we’re looking forward to getting started. Fitness-wise everyone looks good. We’ve had five or six weeks of a good pre-season and we’re raring to go for next week.
They’re always hard games in the Premier League. But we’re at home, we fancy ourselves and we’ll be looking to get the three points.