Tony Mowbray praises Blackburn’s control in vital victory at Preston

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By Press Association Published: 25 April 2022 - 9.37pm

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray praised the control in his side’s performance as they eased past Preston with a 4-1 victory over their Lancashire rivals.

First-half goals from Sam Gallagher, John Buckley and Darragh Lenihan left Rovers in control before Lewis Travis put the game beyond doubt after the break.

It was a crucial win for Blackburn’s Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes after a run of five games without a win, but Mowbray felt his side were relaxed despite the magnitude of the occasion.

“Even though we were winning games by four and five earlier in the season we weren’t looking as controlled as we did at times tonight,” said Mowbray.

“Although there is clearly pressure on the lads at this stage of the season, we looked quite relaxed in some stages of the game.

“There didn’t appear to be a burden on any of the lads, they stayed relaxed and played themselves into the game.”

The game also saw a return from injury for top scorer Ben Brereton Diaz, and the Chile international made an immediate impact as he laid on two goals in an impressive overall performance.

“Ben has come back at the right time for us,” added Mowbray. “He’s a class player, he’s got real quality. He scores with his head, both feet, and he offers so much to the team.

“Everybody loves him here, mainly because of the human being he is. He’s a brilliant individual.”

The victory puts Rovers seventh, one place and three points behind Sheffied United as they target a return to the Premier League after a decade away.

For Preston, the result leaves them firmly rooted in mid-table and manager Ryan Lowe rued his side’s first-half performance.

“It’s really disappointing to lose a derby game that way. It’s gruelling, and right now it’s really hurting,” said Lowe, who briefly saw his side reduce the deficit to 2-1 thanks to Alan Browne’s goal.

“We created a few chances throughout the game, but when you give away two or three goals like we did tonight, you give yourselves too much to do.

“We’ve had some good times and we can have lots more good times, but performances like that won’t help.”

For Lowe, the focus is now on finishing the season as strongly as possible ahead of his first full season in charge at Deepdale.

“We’ve got to learn from a night like this,” added Lowe. “All of the lads have to agree to what we’re doing here and really buy into it. If they don’t, other players will come into the team in their place.

“The motivation for me is still to win both of our remaining games. It’s about trying to finish the season on a high.

“Deep down I know where I want to take this football club. It’s about creating a winning mentality here, something that will help to kick us on into next season.”

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