Everything that could have been said about Saturday has been said. So let’s say it again.
We deserved to get beat. We were lucky that Oldham are a side who couldn’t finish or it could have been a right battering. Once again, our poor mentality played the biggest part in another disappointing showing from TM’s boys.
However, this time it wasn’t a lack of willpower after going 1-0 down within the first fifteen minutes nor was it the concentration lapse with two minutes to go after being 1-0 up (both of which were two of the nails in our coffin from last season). No, this time, once more this season, it was the “oh we’re playing a crap team and we’re almost guaranteed promotion so let’s just wait until Charlie [Mulgrew] whips in a free-kick or Craig [Conway] scores a penalty because this team aren’t going to score at all we promise” mentality. And we loyal few are sick to death of it.
I was told on Saturday that we Rovers fans want and expect more ‘Labore’ than ‘Arte’ and that is very true. Yes, we love Chapman’s ability to nutmeg a mermaid and Dack’s ability to run rings around any punter unlucky enough to be put up against him but we love Smallwood’s tough, unforgiving tackling and Bennett putting his life on the line tracking back to make a tackle or block more because it shows us that the players are proud to wear the shirt. The performance at Oldham was neither skillful nor did it show hard work.
We as fans expect a lot of Blackburn Rovers. Not because we won the league in 1995 – I know we don’t like to mention it – or the League Cup in 2002 or when we were flying high in Europe under Mark Hughes but because we have the best squad in the league (joint possibly with Wigan) and we know that we have a talented squad and talented players so we feel let down by performances like that.
Some Rovers fans still hold onto the expectations of ’95 and that’s fine but we ALL need realise that we’re in this league until May, touch wood, and our expectations need to drop because we’re in this league for a reason and it’s going to take a hell of a lot of graft and ‘labore’ to get us out.
I do felt let down by TM by the selection on Saturday as I was confused where Downing was after his very good start in the famous Blue and White – but then heard he was injured, Evans I assumed he wouldn’t start after playing twice for Northern Ireland but still confused why he wasn’t in the 18 – and didn’t travel.
I was especially confused as TM said in the run up to the game that we had a relatively clean bill of health – with the exception of Lenihan and Wharton whom is regaining fitness with the kids – and my confusion was echoed around the Chaddy End when the team sheets came out.
Dack being benched was a ridiculous decision as he is arguably the best player along with Richie Smallwood. To be fair to TM, he later said in the post match interview that Downing and Evans had niggles and he didn’t want to aggravate the injuries.
I am still optimistic that we’ll go back up at the first time of asking and TM is 100% the man to do so and those calling for his resignation or sacking need to realise he’s the best manager we’ve had since Gary ‘Give it a right good go’ Bowyer. Some of us took Bowyer for granted with the squad he had- I certainly did- and I don’t want a repeat of that again because God knows what could happen next.
Plymouth on Tuesday night SHOULD be an easy game if TM has drilled into the boys that Saturday’s performance should never be repeated, but if we have the same mentality that we did on Saturday then the door of promotion closes ever so slightly once more.
We’ve now finished all of our reaction to Saturday’s game. You can read any of our articles reacting to Saturday’s loss at Oldham by clicking the relative link below.
Click to read Chapman, effort levels and away support – 3 things learnt from Oldham by @benwilkinson11
Click to read Oldham Athletic 1-0 Rovers – Player Reviews by @maxmcloughlin
Click to read Time to step up by @andrewneilblog
Now our attentions turn to the Plymouth game tomorrow night. Keep checking back tonight to see the build-up to the game!