Lee Bowyer was full of praise for goalscorer Chuks Aneke after the Addicks' 4-4 draw with Rochdale at The Valley but explained his disappointment with the result.
Aneke scored either side of half-time as the two sides played out a thrilling encounter.
Bowyer said: “They couldn’t handle him, he was exceptional. He deserved to get a hat-trick and he was by far the best player on the pitch.
“I had to leave him on there. Every minute he stayed on there was a risk. But we know what he can bring.”
However, despite being full of praise for his striker, the manager was disappointed with the result. He said: “I’m disappointed because we’re playing at home against a team in the lower half. It’s a game we expected to win so I’m disappointed.
“We have to look at the positives though. We showed character and fight. We could’ve easily crumbled and gone the other way, but we didn’t. We should’ve won it but their keeper made a great save. Everything they hit in the first half went in. I think they had four shots and every one went in so it was one of those nights.”
Rochdale found success through winger Kwadwo Baah, who bagged a brace and looked threatening throughout. The game also saw Rochdale score a fantastic free kick.
“Their winger (Kwadwo Baah) is 17. He’ll probably struggle to score two goals like that in his career. He was very, very good. The freekick as well, it was an amazing strike from their player (Stephen Humphrys). I was disappointed with the first three goals, but we can’t complain about a strike like that.”
The Addicks were reduced to ten men late on as Jason Pearce contested a 50/50 with the opposition goalkeeper, and Bowyer believes the sending off to be harsh.
“It's a 50-50 challenge - they have to make the tackle," he said.
“We're pushing to win the game. The ref can use common sense. It's a no-win situation for Jase. If it was the same down the other end I'd accept their player going for it. He didn't do anything wrong. Harsh”
Meanwhile, January signing Ronnie Schwartz bagged his first goal for the club, coming off the bench at half-time to make an impact. The manager was pleased with the Danes’s goal.
“"I've seen his finishing - and that's it. He gets a chance, and he takes them. He's got 45 minutes and took his goal well. That's a positive thing." He said. “We got 45 minutes out of him, but he was tiring at the end. He got his minutes and took his goal, which is good for us.”
The Addicks face Bristol Rovers next, on Saturday.