Rovers’ final home game of the 2022-23 campaign saw their playoff hopes hang in the balance as they fought from behind to claim a point against already playoff-bound Luton Town, to make it an interesting final day, as the curtain came down on the football at Ewood Park for the season. Jon Dahl Tomasson spoke to RoversTV about the game on Bank Holiday Monday, as well as the magnitude of next Monday’s final day against Millwall at The New Den.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t manage to win today. On the other hand, when you’re 1-0 down against a very good side, there’s always relief when you get a draw. However, if you look at the game, a draw was probably the least we deserved. I thought we controlled the first-half and created a lot of chances, but lacked the clinical edge to put them away. It was the same story in the second-half, too.
“Yet, when you see those lads fighting until the end, it makes me proud. The fans are also behind the team which is important. The togetherness between the fans and the players is great. At the end of the day, we have one final left. Who could have imagined, back at the start of the season, that we would be playing for a chance, in the final game, to be in the playoffs? It’s quite incredible, so we have to give all the credit to the lads. We’re disappointed that we didn’t win today, but we’re suffering from the same pattern that we’ve seen for a long time. We’re creating the opportunities, but we’re not taking them. We should not forget that our own senior number nine, Sam Gallagher, is out injured. We shouldn’t be putting too much pressure on young Harry Leonard, who’s just 18.
“It’s almost been the story of our season. We’ve played good football, had great performances, but have suffered in results as we’re not scoring goals. We need to score goals to win games, of course, but that’s the hardest thing to do in football. That’s the only thing we can complain about. It was brilliant to see the desire of the lads, today. It was important to get a point, if we couldn’t win the game. There was only four minutes added onto the end of the game, which was a joke. Yet, the was the team kept fighting after equalising and then seeing Sammie’s (Szmodics) shot at the end come off the bar, it was incredible.
“If you look at the situation we’re in; we’re playing a cup final for a playoff spot away at Millwall, we have everything to play for. I would have taken that in the first training session we had, for sure! I’m very excited for this opportunity, even after today’s game where I’m left frustrated that we didn’t win. Today’s atmosphere was great. We showed great togetherness, passion and spirit between the players, staff and fans that we have spoken about a lot this season. It was great to see and be part of.
“Hayden’s (Carter) goal was a brilliant header! It’s not that funny and rather ironic, but seeing a defender score is quite good! It was a brilliant goal and I’m happy for Hayden. If you look at the development of the team, they have developed a lot over the season which they deserve great credit for. Each player has also improved individually, and Hayden is one of them. I think he has improved massively, both defensively and on the ball. He’s shown he can do all the right things on a consistent basis and he deserves great credit.
“We don’t just need luck, we need to be realistic. Goals win games, and we know that we’re lacking goals in the squad. On the other hand, I’m really happy with the performance, again and I’m pleased with how this team is able to find new energy so late in the season and perform this way again. Things aren’t in our own hands, as we need to look at other results, which is disappointing, but it’s a great opportunity for the lads to play away in, what will be, a final for both teams. To have the opportunity to win it is great, but we also do need a bit of luck with other results.”