“Nobody thought we’d win, apart from the group in the dressing room.”

“Nobody thought we’d win, apart from the group in the dressing room.”

Blackburn Rovers shocked the division by finally ending Leeds United’s unbeaten home record for this Championship season. The mastermind behind the result, John Eustace reflected to RoversTV on his second unbeaten game against Leeds this season, but more importantly hailed his players’ effort, work-rate and togetherness with the travelling supporters as the Blues all but secured Championship safety.

“It was an amazing afternoon. The most important thing I wanted to see today was character after Wednesday night’s disappointment. We showed the fight and togetherness that made the fans proud again, because we let them down midweek. We were also able to show people that we are growing and building something special. We keep working hard and the performance showed that as we were great with and without the ball.

“The players responded brilliantly today, but it’s so important in this division that you don’t get carried away with the highs or the lows. We’ve been on a good run of form, lately, on the whole. Wednesday was unacceptable, of course, but it’s how you bounce back, and I’ve said on a number of occasions that we’re going to fight and get as many points as we can in order to stay in this league. Coming here today, nobody thought we’d win, apart from the group in the dressing room. It was a pleasing result.

“There’s no secret to it. You have to have the desire to work hard and the want to keep the ball out of the net. We had a really good shape and a gameplan. We knew that the longer that the game went on, Leeds would take more risk and it was very important that we didn’t come here and go toe-to-toe against their Premier League quality and 35,000 fans. Our 1,700-odd fans today really helped the team through the difficult moments, and it was a fantastic turnout from our supporters who have paid a lot of money. You could see our fans really believed in the group and the longer the game went on, I really believed that we’d get an opportunity. We had a couple just before we scored and when the ball eventually fell to Sammie (Szmodics), only one thing was going to happen and that was the goal.

“I was confident that he’d score from that position. As soon as he faced (Illan) Meslier, I knew it was going into the back of the net; that’s why he’s a top player. What an achievement! 30 goals in a single season, matching Alan Shearer’s record, Sammie deserves all the plaudits, of course he does. Saying that, we’ve won today, because we’ve worked hard as a team. It’s a team effort, as I’ve always said. It’s a great bit of play down the side, Tyrhys’s (Dolan) magnificent pass has split their defence. Sammie needs people to feed him and help him score as many goals as he can. Although we haven’t had many goalscorers bar Sammie, it’s certainly been a team effort.

“That milestone deserved a game and a victory like this. It’s a special occasion, but the most important thing was that we showed that character and togetherness to come here and win off the back of the disappointing game in midweek. There have been so many good things, prior to Wednesday that we’ve been building. We were doubted; I get that, but the Championship is relentless, you win, you lose, but we stick together, which is what we did today as we earnt a great victory.

“Today’s been a huge victory. We have three games left, we just want to keep picking up points, starting with next week’s huge game at home to Sheffield Wednesday. It was always going to be a huge game, no matter the result today, but now, the lads should be full of confidence going into next Sunday. We’ve always had an opportunity to secure our safety. Even if we’d have lost today, we’d have had the opportunity next week to get away from the bottom three. It’s important that we keep working hard and sticking together, ready to go again next week in another important game and hopefully we can get a good victory.

“The moments at the end of the game, celebrating together with the supports means everything. The turnaround for the staff has been amazing. To get those players on the pitch, after Wednesday and the short time was amazing; they deserve great credit because the staff are also a special group. We’re a tight family at Brockhall and the work that everyone’s done to make sure the lads were ready for today’s game was there for everyone to see. When everyone doubts you and you come through it together, with a victory, like we did today, you build special moments and grow together.”