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Downing hails squad togetherness

“I always thought we’d get a chance to get back in it, but to win it, in the way we did, it was even better"

17 December 2020

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"Stodgy" was how Stewart Downing described Rovers' latest outing against Rotherham United.

But the 36-year-old will happilly take that sort of game every time if the end result earns Rovers that winning feeling.

Brought on for the final 31 minutes, Downing provided a calm head in the home midfield at a point where things could have got ragged for Rovers.

As it was, he'd not even been on the field for a minute when Michael Smith put the Millers in front but, with half an hour still to play, there was no need to panic.

Harvey Elliott's leveller gave the hosts a chance to potentially sneak a winner, which eventually came in the eighth minute of additional time via that man Adam Armstrong once again.

“It was a stodgy game, Rotherham made it difficult for us, I’d have to say that," he told iFollow Rovers honestly after the encounter.

“Their way of playing was quite direct, but they still had two chances where they got through us in the first half.

“But we have to look at ourselves because we didn’t pass it well enough and we weren’t up to our usual standards.

“We looked a bit flat, whether that was how they played I’m not too sure, but we do have to look at ourselves.

“The good thing is that we kept going, even at 1-0 down.

“We’ve always got that quality at the top end of the field and we have a player in Arma who will always get you a goal.

“He’s always in the box, whilst Harvey has the clever, cute passes.

“So I was always quite confident that we’d get a chance, but to win the game was very pleasing."

Downing was also thrilled to see how Rovers stuck to their principles and didn't continuously opt to launch long balls into the Rotherham box in a desperate bid to find the winner.

And yet, ironically, it was his lofted cross that led to Armstrong's dramatic clincher.

“It was a test of our character, you have to keep believing in what you’re doing and the pleasing thing was the patience we showed," he added.

“We didn’t get desperate, we stuck to what we were doing and we got that little bit of luck as well.

“That came with the winning goal where I just put it into an area, Dani’s flicked it back and Arma’s in the right place.

“I always thought we’d get a chance to get back in it, but to win it, in the way we did, it was even better.

“It shows the togetherness in the team, it’s a team game that we're in.”

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