“The first-half cost us the game.”

“The first-half cost us the game.”

A ‘Friday night freeze’ saw Blackburn Rovers fall to their first defeat in 11 games, as Stoke City ran out 3-2 winners at the bet365 stadium. A frustrated Jon Dahl Tomasson reflected on a poor evening for his side.

“We’re disappointed with the result. We all knew this would be a difficult game, like every away game is, but the first-half cost us the game, despite starting well during the first ten minutes. We had some early opportunities, but the rest of the first-half was not good enough. We should have had a penalty just before half-time, but the second-half was more familiar to how we’ve been playing in 2023. Although, Stoke City’s third goal was a bad one (to concede), I thought our overall play in the second-half was good.

“I think the boys showed character to fight back, but at the end of the day we’re left disappointed and frustrated. We mustn’t forget that the boys have put in an excellent shift over the past 11 games and we’ve had a good run. This is the second game we’ve lost in 2023, but I feel sorry for our fans who have made the trip to support us. Their brilliant support deserved better, especially after making the trip on a cold Friday night. Hopefully we can give them something to cheer about against Reading, at Ewood Park, on Wednesday.

“The first-half was totally out of character. We lost every ball and we made a lot of mistakes. When you lose the ball, you end up losing the duels because we’re spread out as a team. That makes you run around and seem as though you don’t want to commit to duels, but it’s because you’re unnecessarily losing the ball and making bad decisions, but the second-half was more like us.

“We’re playing football, not handball. We should have had a penalty right before half-time. A clear decision. It was almost like playing basketball, so I think that says enough. Saying that, we shouldn’t put the whole game down to that incident, we should look at the full game and we were not good enough, especially in the first-half.

“The substitutes that came in had a good impact and did well. Their third goal was the only negative in the second-half. It was too easy.

“It was a great response from the lads. It was just unnecessary to be behind by three, but we should look at 2023 as being positive. We now need a reaction on Wednesday. If we continue playing, as we did in the second-half tonight and as we’ve done over the last 11 games when we were unbeaten, then we’ll be alright.

“John Buckley will probably go for a scan tomorrow. It didn’t look great, but hopefully he’ll be okay. We need to keep our fingers crossed for him. Knee injuries are never good, of course, but we need to wait for the official medical report before talking about the injury.”