Lee Bowyer applauded his players for ‘giving him everything’ in Saturday’s narrow 2-1 defeat at promotion rivals Barnsley.
The Charlton squad is currently decimated by injuries, with Joe Aribo, Josh Cullen, Igor Vetokele, Lewis Page, George Lapslie, Jamie Ward and Jake Forster-Caskey all sidelined, while Naby Sarr is also suspended.
The Addicks fell two goals behind inside 15 minutes at Barnsley but battled their way back into contention in the second period and halved the deficit through Ben Reeves’ 74th-minute goal.
And, although they could not force the equaliser that their efforts warranted, Bowyer praised his players for the fight they showed in Yorkshire.
“I feel for them because I don’t think we deserved to leave with nothing,” he said. “We've come to a top side and we deserved something, for me, because of the effort we put in.
“First half, they scored two unstoppable strikes and that is all it was. Apart from the goals, I think Jed [Steer] made one more save and other than that we had control of the possession.
“Second half, we scored and I feel sorry for the lads because they’ve given me everything again. We’re down to the bare bones and it’s hard for them.
“We haven’t got the luxury of rotating two or three or four players. It’s unfortunate at the moment and Pearcey has had to come off injured and Chris Solly has got a second yellow card, which I thought was harsh, as well.”
Solly’s sending off came in the 95th minute when he was adjudged to have fouled Tykes full-back Daniel Pinillos with a sliding tackle.
Bowyer said: “I thought it was a harsh sending off. He won the ball but the ref says he caught him with his follow through.
“You’re asking your players to put everything in and give you everything. He’s slid in and won the ball and his momentum has taken him into the lad. You can’t stop that and you can’t help that.
“That’s just part of the game at times and he hasn’t done anything intentionally. He’s just collided into him after he’s won the ball. What do you want him to do? You don’t just win the ball and stop; that doesn’t happen. Now we lose another player for the next game.”
Another decision that appeared to go against the Addicks came in the ninth minute when Karl Grant burst through on goal, only to be tripped by centre-back Ethan Pinnock on the edge of the box.
Referee Darren Bond blew for a free-kick and elected to show Pinnock a yellow card and Bowyer felt that the defender was fortunate to stay on the pitch.
He said: “Karlan goes through on goal in the first half and the player should be sent off. He’s taken him out. He was the last man and it was the wrong decision in my eyes.”
Charlton are next in action on New Year’s Day when they host Walsall at The Valley and Bowyer is backing his injury-ravaged team to start another winning run.
He said: “Today was hard on the lads, they are giving everything and we will have to pick them up and we’ll go again.
“We are still in and amongst it and we have got two home games coming up and I believe we can go on another run. Hopefully we will start to get some bodies back because we need to.”