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Development Squad

Johnson: A feeling of frustration

The Development Squad chief discusses the draw against Arsenal and Jack Rodwell's influence

17 September 2018

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Rovers Development Squad chief Damien Johnson admitted the dressing room was a frustrated one following a 0-0 draw with Arsenal in Premier League 2.

There were no goals in the game, but the match wasn't short of incidents, with both sides being reduced to 10 men.

Charlie Gilmour saw red for the visitors prior to Hayden Carter being sent off five minutes from time in a lively encounter at Ewood Park.

Rovers were the better team, but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Deyan Iliev denied the hosts from taking all three points in Premier League 2.

“Overall we're a little bit frustrated. We created opportunities and it was just about that final pass a lot of the time, Johnson told iFollow Rovers after the game.

“It's been a difficult last couple of weeks for the young lads so it was important to keep a clean sheet. We lost our shape in the final five minutes when Hayden was sent off, but genuinely we looked okay with our shape and organisation.

“Our pressing and intensity was quite good, but you always want a little bit more.

“It's a steep learning curve for the lads. The level has gone up and sometimes you learn more about yourself to get through things. The mentality of the group is good, working hard for each other.

“At some point they have to show they are ready to step up and show they can cope at this level. These are the little bits we can improve on at both ends of the pitch. It's nearly there and it'll come, I'm sure of it.

“The game was played at a decent tempo, both teams pressed and it was a proper game. It was competitive and both sides will know they have been in a game."

Johnson handed Premier League winner Jack Rodwell a place in the XI, with the former Everton and Manchester City man playing at the heart of the backline on Monday evening.

And Damien was impressed by what he's seen of the 27-year-old, both on the night and in the build up to the game against the Gunners.

“Jack's been terrific. He's dropped in for some training sessions with us a couple of times and it was important to get minutes under his belt. He played the full 90 minutes and looked good," Johnson added.

“He helped us, you never can doubt his quality and his attitude has been top class as well. I'm delighted that he got 90 minutes of football."

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