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Development Squad

Damien delight at Spurs win

Johnson proud of his players, who defeat Tottenham 3-0 to edge towards safety

10 April 2019

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Rovers Under-23s boss Damien Johnson was delighted with his side’s dominant display in the 3-0 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night.

Early goals from Jack Vale and Dan Butterworth saw Rovers race into a 2-0 lead, before Joe Rankin-Costello added a deserved third late on.

Johnson was impressed by the maturity of his players’ performance, as well as his side’s shape, both in and out of possession.

“It was a really good all-round display,” said the Under-23s head coach.

“Tottenham are a good side and we knew that there’d be periods of the game when we wouldn’t have the ball, so it was important that our shape and our pressing was right, and it was. It was very good.

“We really restricted them and frustrated them, and when we got the ball we looked a real threat. The first time we went forward we scored and that gave everyone a lift. But we didn’t sit back, we kept going at them and thankfully the second one came shortly after that.

“With some better finishing we would have scored a couple more, but all in all I was really pleased.

“Generally, throughout the game, I felt quite comfortable. I didn’t feel like we were under any great deal of pressure at any point and that’s credit to the lads for the shape we kept. It was a really mature performance.”

The victory moved Rovers up to ninth in the Premier League 2 table, three points clear of the drop zone, with just two league fixtures remaining.

“When you get to this stage of the season, the lads themselves would like to try and stay in the league,” Johnson added.

“It’s important that they show that they can win a game and they know how to win a game, under a little bit of pressure.

“That’s another part of their development and one which shone through on Monday night. They know the job’s not done in terms of that and there’s still a lot of work to be done, with two tough games coming up.”

After a tough start to life in the top tier, Rovers have put together a fine run of form in recent months, winning 11 of their last 15 games in all competitions, and Johnson is pleased with the progress his side have made.

“I have to give credit to them because it was a tough baptism in this league and it took us a while to adjust, but they’ve really grown and developed and improved throughout the year,” added the Northern Irishman.

“They are confident and I feel now, when I look at them, that they believe that they can win each game. It probably took them a while to get that mentality, but now they have it and that’s what we want them to feel because we know we’ve got some good players.”  

Rovers fans are reminded that the Under-23s are back in action this coming Monday (April 15th) when they host Manchester City at Ewood Park, kick-off 7pm. It is FREE ENTRY for all supporters.

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