After Rovers secured their spot in the FA Cup Fourth Round, Jon Dahl Tomasson beamed with delight as he discussed his young side’s performance with RoversTV.
“Today’s victory was brilliant. We all knew that there would be a positive atmosphere here, after Norwich City hired a new manager. They played with energy and intensity and played with some very good players, but I was really impressed that our players had an answer for every question Norwich put forward. We played with intensity and extremely discipline. The key to the game, for us, was keeping a clean-sheet, which we did, thanks to a great team performance. We had to do all that after dealing with the early departure of Scott (Wharton), but Ashley (Phillips) came in and did a tremendous job. Everyone put in a great performance and we’re really happy to be in draw for the Fourth Round, but we’re happier that we’re sending our fans home delighted.
“The goal was a key moment. We forced the error by being intense. We were pressing at the top-end of the opponent’s half which led to them having difficulties. We probably should have killed the game off with Ben’s (Brereton Díaz) chance before the break, but on the other hand we showed great discipline against their threat and all of their set-pieces. The team spirit that the lads showed was great to see.
“Keeping a clean-sheet in any game is very difficult. We all know that defending a lead is key to football and the way the lads did it today, was impressive. They worked together at a high level against a very good side and they coped well with the changes that I made, in order to keep the team together. The lads also coped with the rotation in order to give some players a bit of time off and others a chance to impress.
“We’ve been tired over the past few weeks, but we need the whole group ready whenever they are called upon. Maybe, we don’t have the same overall quality as some of the teams who have bigger budgets, but we have great team spirit and great young players who are developing every day. We need to keep the group together keep the performances at a consistent level whenever the young boys get their chance, which they did today.
“We knew that Hayden (Carter) and Jack (Vale) were coming into this game after recovering from injuries, meaning they would only manage 45 minutes to an hour, before needing to change them. Dilan (Markanday) was given an opportunity to show his talent and he did well, today, which is very positive. Jake (Garrett) getting a second consecutive start after putting in a good performance last week, and of course, Ashley Phillips came in off the bench and put in a brilliant performance. We mustn’t forget that he’s 17-years old and is playing at such a high individual level.
“It was a great all-round performance and a brilliant win. I was extremely happy to see around 400-500 Rovers fans rewarded for making the long trip. Jack (Vale) got injured during the World Cup break and I think he’s trained now for a week or so and he managed to get 60 minutes in internal games at the training ground, but you could see he was really tired at half-time, today. He put in a good overall performance today and goals are always helpful for confidence, so it’s nice to see him back scoring goals. A lot of credit has to also be given to Dilan and Bradley (Dack) for their unselfish role in creating the goal for Jack to score.”