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First Team News

Alex Neil Delighted With ‘Ugly’ Derby Day Win

9 March 2019

Manager Alex Neil admitted that the result was all that mattered this afternoon as his side secured a narrow win over Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

The Scotsman confessed that it wasn’t the cleanest of win’s with Daniel Johnson’s strike on eight minutes the only goal of the game to separate the two Lancashire rivals. 

“It was always going to be a tough match” acknowledged Alex post-match.  

“We lost a couple of players prior to the game who we hoped would have been ready, but the most pleasing thing for us is that we worked on a 3-4-3 shape which I thought they might have played. 

“I think that prepared us and gave us a good chance of coping with that because it’s a difficult shape to play against. 

“I thought Blackburn played well in terms of controlling the ball but never really got to the stage where they would hurt us. Sometimes you’ve just got to win games ugly and we certainly did the ugly parts of the game well today.

“The most important thing at this stage of the season is wins - and when you look back at this on the calendar, it will have a W next to it and nobody will really care how we played as long as we’ve got the three points.

"We dismantled Blackburn at our place but games aren’t always going to be that easy, particularly when you’ve got key players missing. I do feel a burden of responsibility to make sure our fans go home happy on derby day and they will do today." 

The goal which did ensure the Lilywhites game away with three points came in the early stages of the game with Nmecha providing Johnson the chance of making it two goals in two games. 

“I think the game changed with the goal” continued Alex. “Before the goal, we played on top of them and it was quite end to end and the one quality move we produced ends up in the back of the net. 

“It was a great move which started from the goalkeeper and one which you could say was straight off the training ground. We spoke about getting Gally turning balls round to the spare player which was the number ten, isolating Lukas wide and having the runners in the middle of the pitch.” 

As he has done for most of the season, the manager had plenty of youth running through his side this afternoon which made the result even more pleasing for him. 

Alex added: “The lads should be really pleased - we had a really young team out today - you look at the centre backs - they’re both young lads, Ryan Ledson and Lukas Nmecha as well so to do what we’ve done, on the run that we’re on, I think that’s five away games now we’ve run on the bounce is remarkable.

“We’ve still got some bodies to come back which makes for great reading for us. Hopefully Pottsy and Barky will be back; we’ve ten games to go and the dream is still alive so to speak.”  


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