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George: We deserved more

Posted on 17 September 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

George Graham insisted that we didn’t deserve to lose at Charlton on Saturday — but blasted the defence for conceding another ‘suicidal’ goal.

In the end we were thwarted by inspirational goalkeeper Dean Kiely and the woodwork as Charlton hung on to defend Jonatan Johansson’s breakaway goal after 39 minutes.

The Finnish star, pictured right competing with Sol Campbell, strolled through as we pushed up for offside and slid the ball under Neil Sullivan.

That proved the winner but Kiely saved superbly from Steffen Iversen, Les Ferdinand and Sergei Rebrov — Mauricio Taricco also hit the woodwork.

Boss Graham said: “I thought we started nice and confidently. We could have scored and then we went and gave away a suicidal goal trying to play offside. That gave them a leg up.

“It was too chancy to play offside in that situation. It was suicide and the goal gave them such a lift.

“That’s two games we’ve lost now, at Newcastle and against Charlton, where we’ve given teams a head start without them doing anything to earn it. If we’d just defended that situation it wouldn’t have been a problem.

“After that I thought Charlton defended very well, got players behind the ball and made it very difficult for us. We went forward, created chances and missed chances. Their goalkeeper was man-of-the-match and that just about sums it up.

“He made some fantastic saves and then Steffen Iversen missed a header from six yards out. For an away side we created plenty of chances and we just needed that goal to give us a lift.”

After recovering from the defeat at Newcastle on August 26 with successive home wins and moving up to fifth in the Premiership, the manager admitted this was a slight step backwards.

“There are a lot of good things happening so this puts us back a little,” he said. “We expected to get something at Charlton.

“We definitely didn’t deserve to lose. Give them credit, they defended well and showed plenty of spirit. They are well organised and the manager here does a great job. But overall we deserved something.”