Blackburn are suffering from a lack of confidence – Tony Mowbray

Rovers’ play-off hopes are hanging by a thread following a 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke.

By Press Association Published: 18 April 2022 - 5.27pm

Tony Mowbray said his Blackburn team are suffering from a “lack of confidence” after their play-off hopes suffered another blow with a 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke.

Jacob Brown’s composed fourth-minute finish did the damage in a half bossed by the Potters, whose dominance clearly affected their opponents.

Although Blackburn improved in the second half they could not find an equaliser, with Sam Gallagher striking the woodwork and Stoke goalkeeper Jack Bonham superbly denying the striker and substitute Ryan Hedges.

Blackburn remain eighth and in top-six contention but have won just twice in 15 outings.

After the game, Mowbray said his side endured a “difficult” first half, putting it down to: “A bit of good play by Stoke, very confident.

“They have experienced players, playing their shape and pattern really well.

“They played off the two strikers extremely well and there is a lack of confidence in the team. I think it’s really difficult, the environment they played in today was difficult for those young boys. But it can only be a lesson to them.

“I told them, professional football, having been in it for 40 years, can be a harsh business.

“It’s not all great when you’re winning and everything is great and everybody is singing your name. You have dark days.

“Today, first-half particularly, was a difficult day for that team out there. I think they showed their mettle in the second half, put everything behind them and gave a much better performance.

“The second half performance is what this team are about, but yet we didn’t manage to score. We’ll keep going.”

After making it four wins in six, Potters boss Michael O’Neill praised Stoke’s attacking display and the way they stood up to second-half pressure.

He said: “I think we deserved to win the game.

“I thought we played really well in the first half, some really good football. Possibly could have done better in the final third, we got into good areas.

“It was a really good goal as well, and we were always just a pass from getting in again to make it 2-0.

“Then we had to defend in the second half. There were a lot of direct balls coming on top of us and the two lads up front for them are a real handful. You have to deal with that.

“But then we had really good chances on the counter-attack as well and we probably should have put that game to bed.

“We needed a couple of good saves from the goalkeeper, one terrific save, but if you look at it on the balance of chances, I think we had the better chances in the second half as well.”

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