31 January 2023

Delight for Jon Dahl Tomasson as Blackburn reach FA Cup fifth round

31 January 2023

Blackburn manager Jon Dahl Tomasson was delighted with his side’s performance after they earned a trip to Leicester in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 extra-time victory over Birmingham at St Andrew’s.

After drawing 2-2 at Ewood Park on Saturday, Birmingham’s on-loan Arsenal defender Auston Trusty turned Sammie Szmodics’ cross into his own net in the 100th minute to seal Blackburn’s first appearance in the fifth round for six years.

“Delighted with the win and to be through to the next round,” said Tomasson. “I think it was a solid performance playing against a good side.

“It was a close game, we played some great football only lacking an end product. On the other hand we were solid defensively, more or less, against a side with a lot of quality from set-pieces.

“It was a big win, great spirit within the lads playing extra minutes as well. We created opportunities but of course you can always be better, creating chances in football is the most difficult and scoring is also quite difficult but I was delighted with the play.”

Birmingham dominated the second half but were thwarted by an inspired performance from Aynsley Pears, who made a double save from Lukas Jutkiewicz and Tahith Chong as well as saving efforts from Scott Hogan and Kevin Long.

Tomasson explained: “He did well, he did really well.

“A big compliment for Pears in that way but not only him, I think we are making some good progress within the team, the way we’re playing – the only thing we should be better at of course is scoring goals.”

A defiant John Eustace was proud of his team despite their fourth-round exit, insisting he was happy with his team’s performance in the two games against Blackburn despite being on a run of five straight league defeats.

Eustace said: “The most positive thing we can take out of tonight is the performance was good, it’s the first time in a while we’ve had a clean sheet after 90 minutes, we looked very solid.

“We’ve been on a really difficult run in the league in the last three or four weeks but tonight our levels were good, obviously Saturday’s performance was good and we’ve followed that up with another good performance tonight.

“Obviously we’re disappointed to lose with the manner of the goal, an own goal, but it’s very important we just keep going.”

After the defeat, Eustace confirmed Blues had turned West Ham loanee Emmanuel Longelo’s loan deal into a permanent transfer on deadline day.

He added: “Manny played well tonight, going forward he was very exciting, that’s why the club have looked to sign him on a permanent deal.

“That takes away a headache with the six loans as well so we can have him more involved in the squad now.”

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