Tony Mowbray was pleased that his Blackburn Rovers took all three points back to Lancashire following a 1-0 away win against an ailing Stoke City. A second-half strike from German youngster Reda Khadra made the difference and pushed Rovers into the top four, but Mowbray was not totally content on the day.
"I felt we could have scored more than one goal."
“[We were] a bit frustrated at halftime playing against that wind. We should have been leaving [the ball] in behind them a bit more with the speed of Khadra and [Ben] Brereton Diaz – we kept hitting it too centrally or kicking it out of play. It was frustrating for me at the start because there were opportunities for us. I felt we could have scored more than one goal.
“With total respect to [Stoke] – they’re a very good side – but they are missing a lot of the experienced footballers out of their team at this moment. We were the side that created the best opportunities over the 90 minutes and generally controlled things; even out of possession we controlled things defensively. [I am] pleased with the result and I think it was the right result.”
"Shoot. You’ve got the wind on your back – if you get a yard, just whack it."
Mowbray was adamant that the adverse conditions brought on by Storm Arwen were bound to have an effect on proceedings, and the 58-year-old explained the message to his team at the break.
“The second half was going to be totally different; we were playing with the wind, the ball was going to run away, we couldn’t drill it into the spaces we wanted to play to but we did say, ‘Shoot. You’ve got the wind on your back – if you get a yard, just whack it.”
"He’s still learning about the mentality to play for this team and yet he has amazing attributes."
Reda Khadra netted his second goal for Blackburn on his 10th appearance since joining from Brighton & Hove Albion. The 20-year-old sealed the game with a venomous effort from the edge of the box after snatching possession in a dangerous area from Stoke’s lackadaisical backline.
“Reda is a great kid. I feel as though he’s still learning about the mentality to play for this team and yet he has amazing attributes. We have to give him the opportunity to play and to use that blistering pace and that rocket in his right foot. He did the job for us today and we are delighted he did.”
"Nobody is getting carried away – the second half of the season is when it matters.”
Mowbray finished by describing the attitude in the Blackburn camp. Rovers have just one loss and one draw in their last seven outings, and have claimed 10 points from a possible 12 in the matches since their humiliating 7-0 loss to Fulham, showing a remarkable sense of togetherness amongst the players.
“In the Championship, it is hard to win games. It is very hard to win away from home in the Championship. I talk about the mentality of this group and how great they are and as human beings how great they are, and it is just great in the dressing room to see young lads happy and bouncing tonight. They are proud of each other.
“We have to keep our feet on the ground. Every game is going to be hard – when you think you’re doing well, you get knocked down in this league. We are all working for each other and fighting. When the setbacks come – as they undoubtedly will – we will have to try dealing with them and get going again.
“For us, [we are] just happy to take the points, move on and keep going. Nobody is getting carried away – the second half of the season is when it matters, not the first 25 games but the last 15 is what really counts.”