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Damien proud of his youngsters

"I couldn't fault their effort," Johnson said after Monday's U23s clash

17 April 2018

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Damien Johnson felt his Rovers Under-23s were unfortunate to come away from Monday's Premier League 2 clash with Aston Villa empty-handed, and expressed pride in his players for their performance.

Just a point at Ewood Park would have seen the young Blues crowned champions ahead of Villa, but Jordan Lyden's first-half strike, against the run of play, settled the contest.

Speaking after the game, Johnson says there are plenty of positives to take from the game and is already focusing on next week's clash with West Brom, which could be another opportunity to seal the title.

“It was one of those nights," he told reporters.

"The lads were disappointed, their heads were down, but I couldn’t fault our effort, some of our play was terrific, it was just that last little bit.

“You know when they keep fizzing past the goal you get the feeling that it might just be one of those nights.

“They kept going to be fair to them but it wasn’t to be.

“Villa were that bit more clinical than us with the few chances they had, they managed to put one away and that was the difference.

"But we’ll pick the lads up and go again next week.”

Almost 1,100 fans came down to cheer on Rovers, and Johnson was pleased to see a good turnout. 

"The supporters were terrific. It was nice to have an atmosphere because this is the stage that the lads want to be playing at on a regular basis," he added.

“It was nice for the lads to get a taste of it and show that they can perform, albeit we didn’t get a result, the performance was there or thereabouts.”

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