“I’m delighted, again,” reflected manager Mark Bowen, after a 2-1 win away at Fulham – our fourth win on the spin and the making of a very happy new year.
“We went to Preston with a plan and got the result – and that wasn’t unlike today.
“We know that we have quality in this team, so it was all about what we did out of possession. We were trying to attack quickly on the counter, and once again our goals came from good play from the likes of John Swift, Ovie Ejaria and Charlie Adam.
“Again, Tyler Blackett running 40, 50 yards to make the overlap for the first. And the second goal where Swifty knocked it out to Ovie – and I feel sorry for any defender who gets left one-on-one with Ovie in the penalty box. And I’m delighted for Charlie to get his goal too. I don’t like to single out individuals, because everyone worked their socks off.
“They are such talented boys, and I’m asking them to do the other side of the game as well – which they are well capable of and they’re showing it.
“We have it in us to play that type of football if we need to. We took our chances, and then the resilience that we showed against a top, top side late in the second half was just outstanding.
“These things don’t just happen. You have to work on it, physically and mentally as well. When they came in at half time, maybe coming in at half-time at Craven Cottage a goal up, there might have been a bit of apprehension or fear in their eyes. I don’t see that at the moment.
“What I see is a group of players who are confident in what they do. They’re all working for each other, they’ve got a real desire amongst themselves, and I think we’ve turned a bit of a corner where there’s an expectancy amongst ourselves. And that’s good to see.
“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but we’re getting there. And now we’re within touching distance of where we want to be.”
Bowen went unchanged for a third straight game, with the same result. A credit to the starters, those who put in a shift from the bench, and those working hard to provide competition for places.
“I went for the same starting line up again,” Bowen continued. “People often talk about trying to freshen things up, but I thought that these players deserve it and with so many clean sheets and wins, you leave yourself open if you do change it.
“The other lads in the squad are chomping at the bit but I had to start the same guys, knowing that there would be a time in the game where I would need to change things. Once again, they showed their resilience, their quality with the goals, professional and desire to stay ahead in the game.”
Lastly, a word for on the fans who turned out in force and filled the away end at Craven Cottage.
“A lot of fans came today – wow,” said the boss. “Only for about 30 seconds after their goal did I hear their fans – for the rest of the 90 minutes and added time, all I could hear was our fans. Driving the lads on. And it fills my heart with pride.
“They were packed in behind that goal and non-stop they were getting behind our lads. It really is appreciated.”