Fleetwood Town boss Uwe Rosler says his young squad learned a painful lesson at the hands of Charlton but says it will stand them in good stead for the future.
Town’s young guns could not hit the heights of Tuesday’s sublime 3-0 win at Bradford as they crashed back down to earth with a 3-1 reverse to Charlton at Highbury.
Rosler held up his hands and admitted that his decision to go with his heart rather than his head and stick with the starting line-up from Valley Parade cost them, with many suffering a hangover from an energy-sapping night across the Pennines.
However, Rosler says it is all part of his squad’s education as they learn from the match and move on to a Checkatrade Trophy tie with Morecambe tomorrow – a game that will see numerous players rested to ensure their energy levels are back at full power for Saturday’s trip to Plymouth.
The head coach said: “It is nothing to do with effort. Again it is a great learning curve, with so many young players who will go on to good things, better things.
“For them it is a great learning curve to go into the game maybe only at 80 or 90 per cent, then cope with an opposition like that because that will happen in their career.
“Unfortunately that was a painful learning lesson at Highbury and I take responsibility for that.
“At the moment the most important thing is to take every game as it comes.
“We are not looking at the table. We are not looking or speaking about what happened or what might happen.
“In general it was a day to forget, a day to move on. We concentrate now on Morecambe.
“I will certainly give some players a rest – some players are on their knees – and then we go again at Plymouth.”
Tarique Fosu-Henry, who had a loan spell at Fleetwood two seasons ago, scored a perfect hat-trick on his return to Highbury with a 14th-minute header, a 41st-minute left-footed finish and 71st-minute right-footed effort.
Bobby Grant (above) had scored his first goal of the campaign to level matters up in the 25th minute.
But Rosler held his hands up and took the burden of responsibility for the defeat due to his team selection.
He added: “It is clear for me to see where the problem was lying. First and foremost, congratulations to Charlton. I think they were the better team and deserved to win. Second, this defeat goes entirely to me.
“I should have made a different selection in the beginning because we saw on Saturday we were not capable of press and of reaching the physical level we normally reach, and which normally gives us a chance to be competitive against those teams.
“The Tuesday game took too much out (of us). We produced numbers on Tuesday that we had never produced before and the players were running their hearts out.
“On Saturday we were lethargic. We were tired and that affected the decision- making.
“The decisions we made were not very good and I was thinking leading into that game to refresh things. But I felt the team did so well (at Bradford) and nobody really deserved to be taken out.
“Sometimes that is a difficult thing for a coach but sometimes is the only thing against teams with such good ball quality as Charlton.
“You need to have the energy from the top, in midfield to press them, and we were not capable of doing that.
“The way the goals go in, those mistakes we are making are based on fatigue.
“It is the third game in a week and Tuesday game took so much out of us.
“It is not an excuse but anyone who saw us at Valley Parade knows what we invested in that game.
“As a coach you need to be honest. We made a lot of good decisions over the last 14 months but today I should have started with more fresh legs in the team to give ourselves a better chance to win the game.”