After Jon Dahl Tomasson became the first Rovers manager since Graeme Souness to win four away games on the spin, the Great Dane reflected on Rovers’ winning afternoon with RoversTV, after his side beat Stoke City, 3-0 at the bet365 Stadium.
“I’m extremely pleased with that brilliant performance. We knew coming here that Stoke City were in good form having not conceded in their last four games, but winning 3-0 away from home is great, add to that the clean-sheet and Sammie (Szmodics) adding to his tally for the season, Andy (Moran) scoring his first and Scott’s (Wharton) header to open the scoring was brilliant. I thought we started really well and we should have been ahead by two after the first five minutes. We had a big chance at the start with Sammie, before we actually scored from the corner.
“After that, we had a period where we weren’t playing well on the ball, we lost a couple of unnecessary ball and we ran with the ball, but then that allowed us to show a different side to our game. We showed high disciplined defending as well as a great attitude and solidity. I think we frustrated Stoke a lot as they were unable to cut through us. They came into the final third, but not into an area that really troubled us, so I’m delighted to be able to send our away fans home happy with three points and a clean-sheet. It was great to see almost 2,000 of them make the trip and I’m delighted for them.
“I’m extremely pleased to see the team be so disciplined and solid at the back. You need to do that as a team and although we’re a young team and you can sometimes see when we lack experience, I also said to them that they will improve in that aspect over time. To see that implemented today, was great!
“I was relaxing a bit more on the bench with the goals in the final few minutes and so were our fans in the stands! We could have also scored before, however, but if we look at the chances we had, we deserved to win the game. I thought we created plenty of good chances, but of course, when you score late it gives you a good feeling. The dressing room are in a good mood tonight and I’m sure the fans will be, too.
“Scott (Wharton) got a big knock, didn’t he? We need to wait and see the verdict, but when you come off that early, then it’s not top class. Scotty is a tough cookie, so hopefully he will be ready very soon.
“When you score early away from home, it gives you something to hang on to. We probably should have been leading 2-0 after four minutes and 3-0 after 70 minutes! But goals change games as we know. We create chances in every game, and a lot of our performances have been really good and at a high level, but sometimes we’ve been missing chances, which can happen, but it’s the timing of those goals that can change games.
“Andy (Moran) got his first Republic of Ireland cap, with his whole family in the stand and scored his first Rovers goal today! We know that Andy’s going to be a really good player. He’s learning and developing here, but he’s also a great lad. He came in quite late, due to the uncertainties around the budget after it was cut. We all knew about his talent, in the building, but I spoke with him and I’m pleased he did arrive, because he’s a great player who will be even better in the future. He’s a good player now, but he’s going to be a great player over time.
“The goals give confidence, which we shouldn’t forget. Sammie grabbing another one is brilliant. He’s on a great run. He’s a great lad who’s working hard with the team and he wants the best for the team, so it’s good to see him continuing his scoring run. He should be proud of his current tally, but he should be thinking ‘I want more!’
“The fans were great, today. The journey isn’t that long. I’m pleased that they enjoyed it. They put on a great atmosphere throughout the game, but also after the game. It’s great to see almost 2,000 fans on a cold, terrible night in Stoke! But three goals and a clean-sheet will keep them warm!”