Tony Mowbray believes his Middlesbrough side eventually found their feet as they ran out 4-1 winners over npower Championship opponents Charlton.
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Rob Hulse put the home side in front as Boro produced a lethargic start but they successfully turned things around with goals from Jonathan Woodgate, Scott McDonald, Emmanuel Ledesma and Richard Smallwood.
Mowbray admitted that the toll of three games in seven days, not to mention the attendant travelling, had taken a toll on his players but was sympathetic towards opposite number Chris Powell too.
"In the last 20 minutes we were impressive, Charlton asked us a lot of questions the first hour or so. But we had six hours on the coach, so I can forgive them the first 20 minutes" he said.
"We got confidence by coming from behind against Bolton last week and I thought we finished the game really strongly but it was a bit harsh on Charlton.
"As we know from last season, when you don't win at home for a time it becomes more difficult - the team feel that.
"We've got stronger in depth, when you consider we've got half a team not playing, and when you think last year we won two of our last 12 and missed out on the play-offs. We can't count our chickens."
Charlton took the lead after on 13 minutes when Hulse powered home past keeper Jason Steele for his first goal of the season.
However, with Boro looking for their fifth straight win, Woodgate headed home from a deep free-kick in the 27th minute.
The visitors started to turn the screw, and asserted their superiority when McDonald netted his fifth goal of the campaign with a searing run and shot in the 53rd minute.
The game appeared as good as over 10 minutes later when Ledesma lobbed over a stranded Ben Hamer but substitute Smallwood rounded off a productive trip to the capital with a close-range effort deep into injury time.
Powell believed that despite the scoreline, there were positives for his side.
"We started off the way we wanted to - it was a well taken goal by Rob Hulse," he said.
"We got hurt by a couple of individual mistakes in the first half then we were chasing the game in the second half.
"The scoreline doesn't really reflect what went on but they punished us in front of the goal.You want to perform at home, but also I think we can do better - there's more to come from the players but we haven't done that at home.
"We can't really dwell on it, we have to look forward to Tuesday and there's no better way of turning it around quickly."