16 September 2023

Jon Dahl Tomasson happy former Blackburn favourites saw a win on momentous day

16 September 2023

Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson was pleased to lay on the entertainment in front of a gathering of former Ewood Park favourites for the club’s 5,000th league game.

A total of 35 attempts on goal were shared by both teams as Sammie Szmodics’ brace secured a 2-1 triumph over bottom-of-the-table Middlesbrough.

Matt Crooks replied in an incredibly open game, but Tomasson insisted afterwards that he would “rather try and win 5-3 than 1-0” every week.

Former Premier League-winning defender Colin Hendry and 89-year-old Bryan Douglas, who played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup finals for England, were among the luminaries paraded onto the pitch before kick-off and ex-Denmark striker Tomasson said: “It was good to see us win the club’s 5,000th game and to see all of the legends before the game.

“I hope they enjoyed it and all the fans did too. It was great to see that amount of chances and we should probably have been 3-0 up at half-time, so it was frustrating not to convert more of the opportunities.

“We then scored a difficult one early in the second half but Middlesbrough got one back, which I think the referee and his assistant will be disappointed by when they look back at it becausetheir player was totally alone three metres from goal and was offside.

“It was then a tough period for us.

“Their goal changed the momentum after all those chances we had missed, but we play football for the fans because they pay a lot of money and you have to give them something back, so I would rather try and win 5-3 than 1-0.”

Midfielder Szmodics’ brace took his tally for the season to four, with Tomasson confessing that such a haul is a boost after a summer in which Rovers lost attacking duo Ben Brereton Diaz and Bradley Dack.

He added: “Sammie went close to his first hat-trick in a Rovers shirt and he’s started this season on fire for us. That’s important because we haven’t got a proven goalscorer in the squad, so everybody needs to chip in.”

Boro more than played their part in an absorbing and pulsating contest, but have now collected just one point from their opening six games and, including last season’s two-legged play-off defeat to Coventry, have failed to win any of their last 11 league matches – a sequence that equals the club’s longest outside of top-flight football since January 1925.

Manager Michael Carrick insisted, though, that the mood in his squad remains “good”.

“The changing room was quiet after the game, but it’s not a horrible atmosphere by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “The mood is good.

“We’re not hiding from the fact that we need to get results, but there’s spirit and inner-belief in the group. It’s easy when people are telling me that I’m fantastic and the players that they are fantastic, but we knew a tough time would come at some point.

“Then, it’s how you deal with it and overcome it and, although this was an open game that probably suited them, I think we have controlled a lot of the other matches and it wouldn’t have taken much to tip the scales and turn the results in our favour.

“There were chances everywhere in this game and I thought we were right in it in the second half, but we are having to come back from setbacks too much at the moment.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox