Saturday, October 24, 2015

The harder you work, the luckier you get - thoughts on Rovers v Burnley

I genuinely, honestly don't know if Burnley work any harder on the training ground than Blackburn Rovers. But I genuinely honestly can think of no other reason for the result I've watched today. Man for man, player for player, we had a definite edge. Big players put in some big performances. Grant Hanley was faultless. Jordan Rhodes did everything but score, indeed at set plays he's often our best defender.

But Burnley were far more cohesive, far more organised and therefore were always clear about what they needed to do to win, or draw.

And that old maxim, the harder you work, the luckier you get. They had the luck today. One chance, one goal, one opportunity. They didn't need to do much more. We did and we couldn't.

Two years on from Gary Bowyer's appointment I still have no notion of the kind of side we are. We're dependent on the rub of the green, a shining performance from a "black swan" player - like Tom Lawrence, for instance - or a snuffling out of the opposition's danger men. But Burnley had a strategy, we just have tactics and tricks. 1-0 down and we're happy to play it along the back six and lob it back to a keeper who isn't even that good at lumping it forward.

It could have been different today, sport always can, but this game is too important to us to be just another game that we dust ourselves down and bounce back from. It defines us. It defines them. And right now they are a solid, unremarkable, well organised side capable of winning a derby game and sending their fans home happy. They will go on and finish higher than we will.

Fair play to the ref today. Not a popular view I'm sure, but so many bookings are stupid and unnecessary. His judgement was to downplay everything. He got to 70 minutes without getting a card out and thought he'd see it to the end.

Where does this Rovers side go from here? I genuinely, honestly don't know.

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