After Rovers started life on the road in the best possible fashion, with a 3-0 win over Russell Martin’s Swansea City in Wales, Danish gaffer, Jon Dahl Tomasson discussed his delight, after his side made it two wins from two games under his stewardship.
“Although we came away from home, scored three and got a clean-sheet, things can always get better, but I must admit that the boys executed a very tactical game-plan at a very high level. They stuck to the plan that we worked on the whole week. We controlled the game out-of-possession and we knew what to expect against a team who are good on the ball. We were dangerous on the transition, but I do think we can improve on the ball. There were moments where we had good possession and played excellently, but there were times where they broke through our organisation, but we defended the box well and they didn’t threaten us, which was very good. It was great to get a clean-sheet, great for Sam (Szmodics) to get a debut goal and for Ryan (Hedges) who’s now on three assists for the season. The three points were the main thing and I’m sure the away support who helped us through are enjoying the trip back to Blackburn.
“I must admit, I was very happy to see the concentration and commitment from the players to execute our game-plan, especially during the first-half, because in each game, you require different elements of your players. In the first game of the season against QPR, we played in a different way and although we needed a different approach today against Swansea City, the players listened and did a tremendous job. Although they might not be tired physically, today, most of their tiredness will be mentally, because the way we played today requires a very high level of concentration and decision-making to make the right choices, in order to control the game out-of-possession, which we did and I thought we looked dangerous on the transition.
“Our approach was different to last week, but you have to be flexible and modern in your tactics. Football is a flexible game. I know we can press high, and take on other approaches, but in this game, we needed something else and we managed to control the game out-of-possession well to keep our clean-sheet. The defenders and Thomas (Kaminski) did extremely well today. I know as a goalkeeper, he would have been dreaming of a clean-sheet, so it was a really nice day and I’m happy to see all of our fans enjoying it.
“We took the chances when they fell to us, today. If you look at the game, I think we deserved the win without feeling like we were threatened. When we can change the mentality in the way we have done today, it means the boys are buying into the methods and the plans. It means they want to help the club in a positive way, which is pleasing as a coach. We are ambitious, but this new project requires patience. The way the guys followed the game-plan today was perfect, they did a really good job, whether that being the 11 who started the game, or the guys who came off the bench. We need everybody this season and hopefully we’ll be getting a few more in, as well.
“Sam (Szmodics) scoring was great, Ben (Brereton Díaz) scoring with all the speculation surrounding him was great and Trav (Lewis Travis) is our top scorer. He might end up being our top scorer this season, you never know! If he scores one more, he’ll get a hattick, that’s not bad! In all seriousness, Travis is doing a very good job in organising the team. He’s a warrior, a soldier and you need those kinds of players amongst the skilful ones and of course, for a player like Trav, goals are a bonus for the team.
“The goals that the striker scored were a reward for their hard work, but hard work is the basic standard that you have to set for your club and fans. Hard work is part of the game. You have to demand from each other because footballers have the best job in the world. You can always expect a hard-working team that has that connection with the fans, because the fans want to see that you’re working hard for the club, because they help us in every game we play.
“I was pleased with the whole team’s performance today, not just Sam who was making his debut. They all played a perfect, controlling game in the right manner. Football is a crazy game, but I’m happy with six points. It’s all about seeing progress and whether the players can process the right things and seeing our hard work on the training ground and in the meeting pay off on matchday. You have to see that there will be progress and although we’re happy to start with maximum points, we’re still at the start of a long journey.”