Lee Bowyer insists Charlton Athletic have been ‘better’ than Sunderland in League One following play-off final triumph
The Addicks had failed to beat the Black Cats in the regular League One season, losing out late on at the Stadium of Light before sharing a 1-1 draw at the Valley.
But Bowyer felt neither result was a fair reflection of his side, with injuries meaning his squad was depleted on both occasions.
Indeed on the first day of the season, the former Newcastle United man was only able to select five substitutes, with only two of them holding any sort of senior experience.
Yet despite absentees, the Charlton boss still felt his side were better than Sunderland during those previous two clashes.
And Bowyer was pleased that - with only one injury among his ranks at Wembley - that his side were able to prove that in the play-off final and seal promotion to the Championship.
“Over the two league games, I don’t think we deserved to lose,” he said.
“The first game for sure, we had five subs and three of them were kids who had never even played a first team game.
“We couldn’t make changes and that’s the reason why we got stung there, because we just didn’t have the squad.
“It wouldn’t have been fair of me to put on a kid who has never played in that intense atmosphere which it was on the opening day.
“We conceded late, but I didn’t think they were better than us.
“Then we played them at home and I thought we were better than them. They were probably more fortunate to get a draw that day.
“And now, we had a full squad apart from Igor [Vetokele]. He was the only one missing.
“I know when I’ve got all the players fit, we’re a completely different team to the one that played them earlier on.”