After Rovers blew Hartlepool United away by a 4-0 scoreline at Ewood Park, in the Carabao Cup First Round, Blues manager Jon Dahl Tomasson beamed to RoversTV, following his third successive victory in East Lancashire.
“This was an excellent game. We saw last night and tonight that cup games are not an easy challenge. The way that the players got the victory was extremely good. We created a lot of chances, kept a third clean-sheet in a row and had four different goalscorers, which is great. We had some youngsters making their debuts today, in Ash Phillips and Jake Batty, who came off the bench. Adam Wharton also starting would have made the Wharton family a bit emotional today, seeing both of their kids start together. Tyler Morton got his first game, as well, so it was a great day in that respect. I thought the boys played a very professional game. Some of the players have been patient, which they should always be, because no individual is bigger than the team and the club, but when you get the chance, you need to perform, which I think they all did tonight, which I’m delighted to see.
“All the young lads that I mentioned were able to handle the occasion as I knew they could. The way I structured the pre-season helped this be possible, because it allowed everyone the chance to get used to the atmosphere and allow them to develop. We need to create our own players over time and they’ll need chances to develop and grow, which means they also need to play against good players at a higher level, in a stadium with a crowd demanding them, in tough atmospheres. When winning is on the line, games are always tough and these kinds of games helped their development and I was very happy for those boys and the way they played, tonight.
“There are always question marks over a young players’ ability to handle pressure, crowds and opponents, no matter how good they are. You always need to improve as a footballer, but especially as a young footballer. Every day, week, month is an opportunity to improve. They have the best job in the whole world. Football is about passion, winning, playing and development; it’s about grabbing the chance and enjoying it. I think some of them will be more nervous tomorrow, than they were tonight because they have to present in-front of me in a post-match meeting! The meetings are based on reviewing their performances and highlighting the positives and negatives of their principles, so we can improve as a team.
“I generally think tonight’s performance was good, but you can always do more, both as a team and as individuals. It’s never good enough, but if you look at the whole team’s performance, it was a good one. At the end of the day, those players need to make my life difficult when it comes to selection. The fans and I both want the same thing, we both want to see a good team, with individuals who challenge each other, who are competitive, but still prioritise the team goals. We want to be successful as a club. It’s not about the head coach, or one specific player, the club is always the most important thing.
“I think the selection headaches are a positive aspect. That’s what football’s all about. It’s about performing when you need it, and everybody is going to be required during this long season. If you’re not playing, as a human being, I don’t like it, but as a manager, I’m very clear about it, because the club rises above us all.
“The fans were treated to a very good game tonight. We created a lot of good chances. The most difficult thing in football is to create chances, and creating those chances, scoring four goals and keeping a clean-sheet will no doubt make the fans as happy as I am with the performance.”