Birmingham City boss Lee Bowyer believes Blackburn Rovers’ clinical nature is the main reason why they are currently sitting in fourth place, also saving praise for opposite number Tony Mowbray ahead of the two side’s meeting as he spoke to his side’s media team.
The Lancashire outfit find themselves just four points adrift of the automatic promotion spots heading into this weekend after going unbeaten in their previous six league matches, winning 16 points from a possible 18 during this run and keeping a clean sheet in their last four.
This has been the perfect response to their 7-0 home defeat to league leaders Fulham prior to this run, looking solid at the back now and find the back of the net in all games of their unbeaten run, with many key players playing their part and stepping up to the plate this season after key departures in the summer.
Quiz: Have Blackburn Rovers signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?
One man that has particularly impressed at Ewood Park this term is Chile international Ben Brereton Diaz, filling the void left by previous key duo Adam Armstrong and Harvey Elliott and scoring an impressive 17 goals in just 22 league fixtures this term.
He has been a key ingredient to their success as the focal point of the Rovers team – and has been key in helping the likes of Tyrhys Dolan, Sam Gallagher and Reda Khadra thrive around him.
But Bowyer has also picked out their boss Mowbray as a key reason why Blackburn went from a League One team to a Premier League hopeful, going on to detail the reasons behind this weekend’s opponents’ success ahead of the two sides’ clash.
Asked for his thoughts on tomorrow’s hosts, the 44-year-old said: “If I was to sum it up in one word: clinical. They have got good players but the chances they create they finish.
“That is why they are winning games. The stats show we create more but they are clinical in all departments.
“Tony [Mowbray] has done a good job there; he has been there a few years and put a good squad together.
“Slowly but surely, he has improved them each year. They have got some good players and a very experienced manager.”
Although Mowbray has many talented young players at his disposal who are hungry to impress, have a point to prove and have only got better with more time on the pitch this season, Mowbray has to take his fair share of credit for their current position.
Not only are his players meeting the physical requirements needed to succeed, but they also seem to be in the right mindset and have continued to express themselves despite suffering such a confidence-knocking setback against Fulham at the start of last month.
This may have been a considerable time ago, but that’s the sort of result that can derail a season. For Blackburn, it has done the opposite of that, and that shows two things. First of all, the brilliant mentality of the players. And secondly, how good Mowbray’s man management is.
The fact they have managed to stay strong mentally is a good sign for the remainder of the season and in the end, this could potentially be crucial in Rovers sealing a play-off spot against all odds, previously looking like they were going to be competing in the bottom half of the table again after losing key assets.
Perhaps these low expectations at the start of the season helped them to thrive – but that shouldn’t take away from how good they have been.