Harris impressed by Cardiff ‘character’ as fightback earns draw at Charlton
Neil Harris was delighted to see his Cardiff City side come from 2-0 down to rescue a point at Charlton on his Bluebirds managerial debut.
Former Millwall boss Harris made a quick return to south-east London after replacing Neil Warnock during the international break and might well have been questioning his choice as first half goals from Conor Gallagher and Jonathan Leko left Cardiff in trouble at the break.
His mood was hardly improved by Junior Hoilett’s poor early second half penalty, which was easily saved by Addicks keeper Dillon Phillips.
But Harris’ afternoon quickly took a turn for the better when Nathaniel Mendez-Laing reduced the deficit in the 52nd minute before substitute Lee Tomlin grabbed a 73rd-minute leveller.
The newly-appointed Cardiff manager said: “Coming from behind it was a point gained definitely.
“I think it became a bit like a basketball match in the second half, which isn’t really how I want to coach and manage.
“At half-time the group was a little bit deflated. I think we felt a little bit sorry for ourselves because we certainly didn’t deserve to be 2-0 down.”
Asked what impressed him most about the second-half recovery, Harris replied: “The character.
“It was a tough week last week for the players in the sense of losing the manager and a guy who is hugely respected within the club, to try and take on my ideas, the environment I want to create and the discipline I want in the group.
“To be 2-0 down is a bit of a kick in the proverbials to be fair and you hope for a reaction at half-time.
“I asked for a reaction, I got it and I’ve seen the group want to be successful, they want to learn.”
Addicks manager Lee Bowyer was without the services of 10 senior players and was not even able to name a full contingent of substitutes.
Despite his obvious frustration at blowing their interval advantage, the Valley chief could not fault the way his injury-plagued side had put Cardiff on the back foot.
Bowyer explained: “To be two up at half-time and end up coming away with a point is disappointing
“But on the positive side we’ve played against Cardiff, a team who were in the Premier League this time last year, and I felt that we were better than them for large parts of the game.
“Once we scored then I felt like we controlled the game for the rest of the first half.
“We were so much better than them in the first half they even had to change their shape and match us up. Obviously we were causing them a lot of problems.
“In the second half again I thought we were good. It was a bit more end-to-end. They had chances, we had chances.
“I thought the penalty was soft because the two players were pulling each other. Thankfully Dillon saved it but the least we deserved today was a point.”