Rovers fought to the bitter end to secure a 2-1 victory over Reading at Ewood Park on Wednesday, much to the delight of Head Coach, Jon Dahl Tomasson. The gaffer beamed with delight as his side bounced back to winning ways to cement themselves in the top six and secure their 13th home league win of the season.
“We did things unnecessarily the hard way! I’m extremely pleased with the victory, especially at this stage of the season. Every win seems to be more important than the last, especially when you look at the other results around the league. We all know that each game is difficult, especially at this stage, but we scored a great early goal. We executed the transition football perfectly, played one or two touch football as we want to and Ben (Brereton Díaz) produced a great finish.
“We were then, more or less, waiting for the second goal to arrive. We created enough chances in the first-half to go two ahead, but I thought we played too slow. We had too many backwards and sideways passes, despite creating a lot of chances. When you’re only leading by one goal, there’s always the chance that you could concede or go onto lose the game, yet I was extremely pleased with the second-half. The second-half was excellent. We created a lot of chances and played some quick football, but we conceded an unnecessary goal. Despite that, I have to give great credit to the lads as they kept on believing and to get that second goal, was a big moment.
“We played great football and the crowd helped us by passing on their energy and passion to the players. The connection was there, which was great to see. We must give credit to Ryan (Hedges) who came off the bench to help the team secure the three points. As I’ve said many times, every player in the squad is important. If you’re starting, on the bench, or in the stands, we need everybody to stick together. Tonight, was a great win.
“Tyler Morton did brilliantly to find Sam Gallagher who assisted Ryan’s great finish with a brilliant backheel. What I was really happy with, was how the lads continued to do the right things, even after Reading scored. We continued to play quick, one-touch football, instead of hammering the ball long into the box. We don’t have anybody, maybe apart from Gallagher, who can win the ball in the air. The rest of the lads aren’t as tall, so then you can’t play that direct style. It was very satisfying to see the boys continue doing the right thing, which they deserve credit for.
“Our ability to continue with our plan is probably the biggest positive from this game. We kept on believing by doing the right things, which is not easy, because you have to do it all together as a team, but the lads did that, which says a lot about this group. They have great spirit, and the development of the group is extremely positive. We always have to stay in games. You should always be thinking about the collective effort of the group, not about yourself as an individual, whether you’re starting or on the bench, because the team is the most important thing.
“Our first goal was brilliant. Ben scored against Stoke City in that defeat, as well as tonight, so it’s positive that he’s getting ‘fresh’ again. I used the poor boy in every game before the World Cup break, which was probably too much, looking back. He needed a break, but it’s positive that he’s back after the recent break he’s had, that he’s back fresh. At the point which we conceded, I wanted fresh legs, which is why Ben and Sorba (Thomas) came off for Tyrhys (Dolan) and Ryan (Hedges). It was raining a lot recently, which makes the pitch tough on the legs of the players.
“I spoke about it when I first arrived; we needed to make Ewood Park a fortress. I think we’ve done that between the players and the supporters, the 13 wins show that. The togetherness and bond that the players have with the fans, is getting better as the season goes on, which is extremely important. I’ve been at a lot of big clubs in my career, and the crowd if they’re behind the team, can help the team enormously, as our crowd are doing for our lads. The support and backing from the crowd will always help the team earn a couple of points over the course of a full season. Each points that the crowd help us earn, here at Ewood Park, will be extremely important and with five home games left, we need all the help in the world. The crowd have been great, both home and away, this season which we thank them for. When there’s a positive reaction, it can sometimes be good to concede a goal, because it makes the winning moment even bigger and more special.
“We are not ignoring the table. We know where we are and we all know that it’s a surprise that we’re near the top, but are we going for it? Yes, we are and we will do our best. We will fight during each game to get the maximum possible points. We will do our best because the fans deserve it. I’m going to enjoy this victory tonight, and then we will start our work on Sheffield United on Thursday. The lads have had a great campaign so far, and Sunday is a great opportunity to write a new chapter in the history of Blackburn Rovers.
“Wins normally help, but I don’t believe we have any injuries after tonight.”