After Blackburn Rovers missed out on a place in the Championship playoffs, on goal-difference, following a pulsating 4-3 comeback win over fellow top-six chasing Millwall, Jon Dahl Tomasson summarised the whirlwind game and his first season managing in English football, to RoversTV.
“We all knew that we needed other results to go our way if we were to secure a playoff spot. The only thing we could have controlled was winning our game. Today’s victory was well-deserved, I think. We started nervously, as we’re not used to playing in such an atmosphere under this much pressure. We controlled the game after they went ahead and Adam (Wharton) scored a brilliant goal. We were totally in control again and suddenly; we gave away two more stupid goals. Suddenly, you’re 3-1 down after a decent first-half where we were in control after making it 1-1.
“The second-half says a lot about our lads. Their resilience and hard work to make the Rovers fans proud is amazing. We played some great football, as we’ve done the last month, but we scored goals today. It hurts & we’re disappointed, of course, that we’ve missed out on the playoffs. I’m out of energy at the moment. Losing out on goal-difference, after over a decade without getting anywhere near the playoffs, is tiring. We’re extremely disappointed, but we know what we’re lacking. We’re lacking goals, which was the reason why we’ve fallen short. It’s great to see the development within the team throughout the season. The young lads deserve great credit. They have a hunger and desire to improve, which is great to see.
“It was great to see all our fans, today. I want to personally thank them all for their support this season. They have remained behind the team all season and I think they’ve enjoyed this campaign. Of course, we’re all disappointed, but when the immediate emotion is gone everyone will look back and reflect on a very good season.
“We have seen the quality in this group for months. We have been the better side against some very good teams over the last few months, but we haven’t been able to score goals. We can’t complain about the effort. We’ve played a fluid, modern way of football that’s seen us create opportunities, but we’ve lacked the finishing touch.
“This was Ben Brereton Díaz’s last game for Rovers. It was great to see him sign out with two goals. He hasn’t scored a lot in the last period, so it was great to see him scoring again. I wish the lad all the luck in the world. He’s a great lad who loves football, who wants to train and improve and be part of a group.
“The change of philosophy and the way we can now dominate games is great. We played against Burnley, the champions, at home and we were the better side, overall. The only difference between us was that they had four attackers on the bench, one of whom scored a wonder goal. That was the difference. The way the boys are playing and have developed has been great to see, but of course, it takes time to improve and adapt.
“It’s natural to look back at the games and point out where we were left disappointed. The handball goal by Coventry City, the handball in the box against Burnley and the miss against Preston North End that led to the equaliser. At the end of the day, if you don’t manage to overcome those, you don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.
“It was great to hear the fans backing the team. Every fan knew that Sunderland were winning, but they stayed behind the team and backed them positively & were in fine voice. We need to thank the supporters, because that’s who we play for. Hopefully they’ve enjoyed this ride, once the initial pain and emotion settles.”