It was a good day for Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, as they made it back to back wins with a 2-1 victory over Derby County at Pride Park.
Ben Brereton Diaz’s brace put Rovers in control of the game within the opening 20 minutes and it would stay that way until the 89th minute, when Curtis Davies pulled one back for the hosts.
But despite a nervy five minutes of stoppage time, Blackburn would hang on claim all three points, and climb to seventh in the Championship table, just one point off the play-off places.
That victory will of course have given manager Tony Mowbray plenty to think about, and here, we take a look at three things we learnt about Blackburn from that win over the Rams.
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A mental barrier overcome, just
Even at 2-0 up, you could have forgiven some Blackburn fans for fearing the worst at half time at Pride Park on Saturday.
Twice already this season, Rovers have drawn a game 2-2, after leading 2-0 at half time, so there will certainly have been pressure on Mowbray’s men going into the second half.
Indeed, that would also most tell with Derby going close to a late equaliser in stoppage time on more than one occasion, and while that with give Rovers plenty to think about when it comes to their approach, the fact they got this one over the line, should at least give them more confidence when in this position in the future.
A need to take their chances
It is worth noting that while hanging on to that lead late on will have been a relief, Rovers really ought not to have been in that position.
Throughout the course of a first half they dominated, Rovers spurned a number of opportunities to put the game to bed, as they had done at Pride Park last season. Had they managed that, it would have made things a lot easier for those associated with the club late on.
Indeed, it is worth noting that with the exception of their 5-1 thrashing of a dismal Cardiff, Blackburn have yet to score more than twice in any of their 16 games across all competitions. If they are unable to change that, they could find themselves in more tricky situations such as this over the season, which only make a promotion push harder.
Buckley’s versatility comes to the fore
John Buckley has been a stand out feature for Blackburn in midfield so far this season, but it was another position he found himself making a big contribution from at Pride Park.
In the absence of Ryan Nyambe through injury, and with Joe Rankin-Costello not fit enough to start after a long spell on the sidelines, Buckley was called on to step in at right-back on Saturday. That is something he has done occasionally before, but not enough to be considered a natural in the role.
Rovers had struggled in Nyambe’s absence in back to back defeats before the international break, but there were no such issues here. Buckley shut down Derby’s attack well on his side of the pitch, while also playing a part in the build-up to both of Rovers’ goals, yet another indicator of how important the 22-year-old academy graduate is becoming to this side.