West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke feels fixture congestion may have caught up with his team as they lost 2-1 at home to Fulham.
Goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Alex Kacaniklic secured all three points for visitors Fulham at The Hawthorns, making light of their poor recent form.
Clarke had no complaints with the level of commitment shown by his players, but there was no denying they were below their best on Tuesday.
“I don’t think we played as we can do,” he said.
“First half we were way off the mark. I’m not sure if it was the consequence of four games in 10 days or not.
“In the second half it was better, we did the hard work to get back into it but then we gave it away. We could not quite get the second equaliser.
“Nobody can question the character of the team. Right at the death, with a bit of luck, we would have got the goal that our second-half performance deserved.”
Fulham manager Martin Jol hopes victory in a tough away game can help to fire his team away from the wrong end of the English Premier League standings.
“We are in a false position but the league doesn’t lie,” he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“Starting the New Year with three points is great.”
Fulham climbed to 13th place on Tuesday, while West Brom sit seventh.