Blackburn Rovers thumped Cardiff City 5-1 at Ewood Park on Saturday with Ben Brereton Diaz coming away with a hat-trick.
It was a convincing win for Tony Mowbray’s side, who have steadily climbed their way to sixth as they look to sustain a top-six challenge this season.
Rovers hit five for the fourth time in just over a year and it turned into a very comfortable afternoon for the Lancashire side.
Sam Gallagher put Rovers ahead after a superb ball from John Buckley before Brereton Diaz scored a brace. Tyrhys Dolan hit Rovers’ fourth before Brereton Diaz sealed his hat-trick from the spot after Bluebirds goalkeeper Dillon Phillips fouled John Buckley.
Mowbray singled out Brereton Diaz after the game as the Stoke-born Chilean took his goal tally to seven for the season.
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He told the Lancashire Telegraph: “The starting point is his work rate, strikers always get the glory of scoring goals but he’s a kid who works his socks off for this team, up and down.
“The physical output has been amazing really and the fact he’s developing his finishing techniques, how he’s working on coming in from the left and bending balls into the far corner, just delighted he’s getting the rewards for all the hard work he’s putting in, as they all are.”
The win sees Blackburn move up to sixth place, three points from West Brom who sit second.
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There’s no doubting Brereton Diaz’s improvement this season. He showed his ability in spells but was never consistent.
Now, he’s showing everyone why Blackburn paid £5.5m for him from Nottingham Forest. He’s the complete forward as Mowbray pointed out and is developing quickly into a top-level player.
His physical ability has always been there, but his technical ability always needed improving.
As Rovers are seeing this season, he’s definitely developed that area of his game and is now a player brimming with confidence.