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Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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The Debrief: Chatting again with our mates at Rovers Chat after Sunderland’s 3-1 win v Blackburn

We caught back up with the Lads at Rovers Chat now that the dust has settled on Sunderland’s victory over Blackburn. Do they feel hard done to given their dominance in periods of the game?

Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Well, first and foremost... how do you feel about the result?

Having taken time to reflect, I almost feel the same as when I left the ground anyway.

The first period where Rovers really should’ve scored two or three goals, if it wasn’t for a possessed Dan Ballard, where one of the best I’ve seen Rovers under Jon Dahl Tomasson.

However, when you don’t take your chances, you get punished - especially when playing a team with the talent you have.

It felt like the Middlesbrough game that I referenced pre-match, but against a side that had more talent.

You said in your chat with us before the game that you were a goalscoring striker away from building on last year - it felt like you did everything but put the ball away! How did it feel watching so many chances not being taken?

Frustrating, but expected.

I honestly believe a proper number nine would see us finish games like the one on Wednesday, and that’d undoubtedly move us up the league.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

What did Blackburn get right and what did they get wrong?

The positives where between the two boxes. Anything between the 18-yard boxes seemed to be excellent and we looked a real threat.

However, games are won in those boxes, and that’s where it all went wrong. I appreciate just how good Ballard was defensively, but chances should have been finished sooner and it feels like this is something that will stop us building on last year.

We were also the masters of our own downfall. The penalty was unfortunate but a definite pen, the second goal it feels like our ‘keeper should have done better, and the third was from us trying to play it out the back.

As a game of football I felt it was really entertaining, and that it was a great one for the neutrals as two young, attacking teams went for it. But do you think that was the right approach to take, trying to match Sunderland up?

I certainly feel so. If we’d have taken those chances, I’d be sat here discussing a victory. I don’t think we can really have too many critics about how we approached the match, because taking our chances would’ve seen us win.

I completely appreciate playing this way is going to cost us at times, but I feel it’ll be more beneficial than not over time.

Which Sunderland players impressed you most?

There were three main ones that come to mind straight away.

Firstly, Jack Clarke. He should be in the top flight, and you can see why there was so much hype about him in the early days. He looked an absolute threat every time he got down that left hand side, and probably should have walked away with the match ball.

Also, Abdoullah Ba looked a real danger every time he got on the ball. There was a couple of times he got past three or four of our players. I can’t believe how young he is as well.

And finally, Dan Ballard. How he blocked some of those chances I’ll never know. He’s one I’ve known about for a while and it is good to see him playing well, although I’d rather it wasn’t against us!

I feel you’re a team full of young talents, like ourselves, who will continue to grow. There’ll be times where the inexperience costs you, but you’re on the path to something special.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Where do you think this leaves Blackburn then? Just looked and you have a tough run of fixtures coming up.

I’m not majorly concerned as long as we keep playing like we have been doing - you won’t face the talent of Jack Clarke and Dan Ballard too many times in the league.

We’ll surprise fans that haven’t seen us and we’ll pick up some good results, but then you’ll have nights like the one we’ve had.

It’ll be frustrating and enjoyable in one!

Based on what you saw, what’s your honest prediction for the season ahead for Sunderland?

I feel you have to build on last year and achieve another top six finish.

The inexperience might cost you down the line, but there’s definitely the talent there to go and achieve what you did last year.

Clarke is worth a lot of points on his own, there’s the Ukrainian who is yet to feature, and Dack and Ekwah were missing.

I feel even if this isn’t your year, I think it’ll be a positive one regardless.


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