Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray was full of praise for his side following ‘Rovers hard-fought 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough on a sunny afternoon at Ewood Park. Mowbray faced his former player Jonathan Woodgate for the first time, and the Teesside was pleased to see his side secure their first win in the 2019/20 campaign.
Danny Graham’s 25th minute spot kick proved to be the difference against the side where he began his career, slotting past Darren Randolph after his shirt was pulled in the box by Anfernee Dijksteel.
In truth, it could have been more for the hosts, with Stewart Downing and John Buckley both firing narrowly over the upright in the second half. And speaking after the game, Boro icon Mowbray was pleased to get the job done against his hometown team.
“It was like a lot of games last season, the aesthetics weren’t so great, it wasn’t a great game but played between two pretty determined teams,” Mowbray conceded.
“Both teams were in the same situation, neither had won, both desperate for a victory but we were at home and needed to try and force the game.
“For probably over an hour I think we did, they came on stronger towards the end, they have some good players.
“But it was great to get a clean sheet, great for all the defenders and goalkeeper.
“We’re off and running and until you’ve got that first win in any season it can weigh heavy on you.
“But they brought the characteristics and qualities we know they have in abundance, drive, desire, commitment, fighting for each other.
“It was all there, all on show and we managed to get the result.”
Despite ‘Rovers working on a new possession-based game in pre-season, but it was the system that has worked so well for Mowbray’s men that came up trumps once again, as the manager admitted.
“In pre-season we’ve tried to get more control in games but you get to a point where the victory is more important than the style of play,” he added.
“And that was us. We can win football matches, we don’t want to be over reliant on a 34-year-old centre forward who has banged in goals for us over the course of the last two years.
“At some stage he won’t be able to do it but he took his penalty with aplomb, he’s still got it, he’s still going strong.
“We decided to go and bit longer, I watched Middlesbrough in their opening game at Luton and they scored three goals against a team who probably tried to over play a little bit.
“They have good players, experienced players, but we got the result and I think we deserved it even though they came on strong in the last 20.”
Mowbray’s side travel to Hull on Tuesday evening to face Hull City, and I’m sure that ‘getting over line’ in terms of securing their first win will fill Mowbray’s side with confidence.