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SirToby

Through Skill and Hard Work

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Rovers

Through Skill and Hard Work

Welcome to my story. I hope that this will be my last game in FM08 and will now begin my blog - hopefully the last of its kind.

Blackburn Rovers are the club. The team from Ewood Park is ready to be put forward in English football and some time in the future they must also come far in Europe. I already have the chance to point me in the my first season when the team has a chance to qualify for Euro Cup via the Euro Vase.

I will do my best to get something out of the Rovers troops which so far looks like this. A squad without a large ground-breaking name but with a reasonable width which for sure is important. Especially because Rovers' financial situation doesn't look too promising.

I'm back soon with some pre-season stuff.

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Rovers

Through Skill and Hard Work

I have checked my player squad and staff out now and it appears direct reasonable. We lack a technical trainer and I have already spotted a new one. Otherwise I’m not so far dissatisfied with something in terms of staff. The assistant looks good, our scouts are acceptable and we have not least a fantastic goalkeeping coach.

Now the players; no one has been given five stars by my assistant but there are many who have received four stars and it is also where you'll find most of the players I have chosen to represent my line-up.

The 11 best players (in my eyes) in a 4-4-2 as it looks now:

FRIEDEL

EMERTON – SAMBA – NELSON – WARNOCK

BENTLEY – MOKOENA – REID – GAMST PEDERSEN

MCCHARTY – SANTA CRUZ

The defence is good. I have players like Ooijer and Khizanishvili to put on but I also believe that it is in the middle of the field we have to buy some new faces. I have a good eye for Mario Santana from Fiorentina and hope to make him to Rovers player before long.

The strikers look good. McCarthy and Santa Cruz is a good couple with good physics at the top. Derbyshire and Roberts is so far good back-ups for them.

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Friendly - 17th July 2007

vs. Dortmund (home)

I have not had many days in the coaching chair before I now must face Dortmund in my first match - but just a friendly. A normal 4-4-2 formation I choose to configure. A formation I also expect to use the rest of the season. My line-up is as I put it up in my previous post. I put my tactics up after my players and what they are good at and not good at. I chose for example to give Mokoena close marker on the midfield while my two wings (Gamst and Bentley) will be instructed to cross the ball often - as they are good at this - but they have to cross from deep as I don’t see them as fast players.

The fight started and we got ourselves quickly to the showdown. We got our opportunities and I saw no reason to change things. After twenty minutes McCarthy scored to 1-0 after a great pass from Santa Cruz. The match was ours and we continued the good start. After an hour McCarthy scored again after a superb cross from Gamst Pedersen. Dortmund was now starting to get better in the match and made some good chances. Mokoena had to be more defensive now. After some good chances, we couldn’t prevent them from scoring. Efter 79 minutes they scored to 1-2 in a bizarre way. Fortunately, they didn’t get more goals and we deserved our victory.

Result: 2-1 (Benni McCarthy 20, 61 – Sahr Senesie 79)

Shots (on target): 16 (7) – 10 (5)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

EURO VASE Cup 3rd Round Leg 1 - 21.7.2007

vs. Maccabi Haifa (home)

If we can beat Maccabi Haifa over two matches we will be ready for the EURO Cup which would be great. This match could easily be difficult. I assume that Haifa will play very defensively and then we could have problems. I put up the line-up the same way as against Dortmund with offensive options (broad width, etc.).

The match went quite sensible. We were lucky enough to open things up by scoring on a set piece. Samba scored after a corner kick and we were in front. Until then, we had not created many chances and Haifa did a good job in the defensive - just as we had feared. McCarthy was early in the match hurt and I had to replace him during the break. Roberts came in his place but it was his partner, Santa Cruz, who after 55 minutes scored to 2-0. The striker got a great ball from Mokoena and alone with the goalkeeper he did it. We did not manage to get more out of the match and I was well satisfied. Haifa did not get a away goal and we got an acceptable number of goals.

Result: 2-0 (Christopher Samba 26, Roque Santa Cruz 55)

Shots (on target): 13 (7) – 1 (0)

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Rovers

Through Skill and Hard Work

A few hours before we should play I signed Mario Santana. The wing cost us around £3.000.000 and my first investment was guaranteed - if you look away from the coach Richard Goodwin whom I also only here recently have secured. Unfortunately, Santana is not ready to play yet because of need of work permit. When he gets it I don’t know.

EURO VASE Cup 3rd Round Leg 2 – 28th July 2007

vs. Maccabi Haifa (away)

We had warmed up for this match in a quite lazy way with a 1-1 away match against Gorica. Samba stood behind our goals in a game where we couldn’t be happy with the outcome. With a 2-0 victory at home, we had secured us a good starting point. There weren’t any big surprises in the starting line-up and I wouldn’t change much for this game. Looking from that the tactic focused on counter attack, I thought that the changes would only come during the match.

We got a horrible start. On a great long shot Haifa came in front and Friedel didn’t look great in the goal. But we were slowly beginning to bounce back. We had many great set pieces and McCarthy was very close to score when he after a counter attack hit the post. We kept going in the second half and were unlucky not to equalize. But instead of equalizing Haifa scored to 2-0 on what looked like their second chance – again on a long shot. The match went into extra time and we were punished for failing to take advantage of our chances. Though we also had many chances to score in extra time, the match went (very frustrating for us) out in penalty shoot-out.

Both teams scored on their first three shots but then Friedel finally saved a poor shot from a Haifa player. Oijer had the chance to bring us in front and he utilized it. When Haifa also scored, David Dunn had the chance to qualify us to the EURO Cup qualification. Dunn scored in a secure way and we avoided a disaster.

Result: 0-2 (Tomer Hemed 2, Roei Amashe 72) – Penalty shoot-out: 5-4

Shots (on target): 19 (10) - 5 (4)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 11th August 2007

vs. Chelsea (home)

We finished our pre-season with 1-1 game against Fiorentina. It was a very balanced showdown where we had a few shots more than the Italians. McCarthy was our goal scorer and he has generally been good for us in the run-up for the league start with three goals.

Now to our first league game of the season; Chelsea has just lost to 3-1 in the Community Shield to Manchester United and hopefully this will mean that they have lost a little bit of confidence. The game was at home but Chelsea isn’t an easy opponent why shouldn’t be playing an offensive tactic. Our play was focusing on balls down the wing – as my assistant before the game said that Chelsea feared many crosses - and not at least the balls to the strikers should be past behind the Chelsea defenders as they lined up with slow players as Alex and Ben-Haim.

And after 11 minutes it was exactly a dangerous cross from Bentley which gave us a corner. Bentley crossed the ball perfectly into Nelson’s head and our captain scored. Unfortunately, Chelsea was hurry to equalize on a free-kick but we were soon back in front. Morten Gamst Pedersen scored after a set piece from David Bentley just before half time. In the second half we realized that Chelsea was too difficult an opponent. Two times the broke free with Friedel and scored. Santa Cruz hit the post in the additional time but it wasn’t enough to get a point and we lost 3-2.

Result: 2-3 (Ryan Nelsen 11, Morten Gamst Pedersen 43 – Joe Cole 14, 47, Andriy Shevchenko 65)

Shots (on target): 11 (7) – 13 (8)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

EURO Cup 2nd Qualification Round Leg 1 – 16th August 2007

vs. Honvéd (away)

Though we weren’t as lucky as Honvéd I couldn’t be happy with the effort here. Honvéd scored early in the game and we couldn’t create any chances before the second half where we finally got some opportunities. In the additional time McCarthy equalized and we got a decent result before the second leg. Not an impressive performance but acceptable under the circumstances. Maybe we should home to change some things.

Result: 1-1 (Benni McCarthy 90 – Norbert Erõs 11)

Shots (on target): 12 (4) – 4 (1)

Premier League – 19th August 2007

vs. Reading (home)

We had something to improve and show after the poor performance in the EURO Cup. After the defeat to Chelsea we should also get started in the league. For this match I had changed to a 4-5-1 formation but if the tactic doesn’t work well in the first minutes I would have to change something.

I couldn’t complain over the effort from the players in this match and we also got three points as we had hoped and expected. Before the last 20 minutes where Reading began to create chances we had totally control over the game and we came to chances. After 52 minutes Steven Reid scored and that should be the only goal of the match. The switch of tactics worked well so far.

Result: 1-0 (Steven Reid 52)

Shots (on target): 13 (4) – 9 (4)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 25th August 2007

vs. West Ham (away)

Before this game I was out in the press to try to destroy some of West Ham’s key players’ morale and succeeded in part. Bellamy’s morale did go from “Good” to “Very Poor” but Vagner Love’s morale was going to “Superb”. Therefore I thought that I would prefer to be extra careful on Vagner Love. He should be marked tight through the game and our defensive line would be deep as he was a quick player.

This match didn’t go totally well and I fear that we have to struggle with away games for a long time. It’s difficult to stop the opponent from creating chances and West Ham came to 19 shots in this match. McCarthy gave us the lead but in the last half an hour The Hammers smashed two goals in the back of the net and let us sit back with 0 points. It means we only have three points after three matches in the league – we have something to improve.

Result: 1-2 (Benni McCarthy 53 – Craig Bellamy 65, Jonathan Spector 76)

Shots (on target): 12 (2) – 19 (7)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

EURO Cup 2nd Qualification Round Leg 2 – 30th August 2007

vs. Honvéd (home)

Only a deserved and convincing win would be accepted here. I would start as against West Ham, with the 4-5-1 formation. We would play wide and without much time wasting because of our home advantage.

The outcome was sensible. We won 3-0. We had a lot of shots (24 total) and that was satisfying. But the fact that only 8 of them were on target wasn’t good enough. Through the game we changed to a 4-3-3 with very attacking full backs and a wide three man attack. We were through to the EURO Cup 1st round.

Result: 3-0 (Morten Gamst Pedersen 5, Steven Reid 60, Ryan Nelson 74)

Shots (on target): 24 (8) – 7 (2)

Premier League – 2nd September 2007

vs. Middlesbrough (home)

For this game we would go back to the 4-4-2 formation. The success with the 4-5-1 wasn’t big and 4-4-2 is a good basis but it’s clear that we would change things during the match if needed. Boro’s strikers (Alves and Tuncay) should for this game be marked tightly but they shouldn’t be closed down as I saw them as great individualists. I gave my wings tight marking because Middlesbrough build up their play on the flanks. Finally, we would play slowly.

It was a great first half. Boro didn’t great any chances and we had had an acceptable number of shots – and most of them were on target. We led 1-0 at the break. Roque Santa Cruz had shot us in front.

Aaron Mokoena was the man behind 1-0 goal with a nice delivery and today he was the key man. He had a total of 63 passes. Four of them were key passes, two of them gave goal. Boro changed strikers after 60 minutes and I hadn’t given new instructions to the new forward. That costs us and Middlesbrough equalized after 64 minutes when the new striker scored. In the break I had substituted McCarthy as he had been poor. Derbyshire got on the field and four minutes after the Middlesbrough goal, Derbyshire got us back in front, Mokoena with the key pass. That was the final goal of the game.

Result: 2-1 (Roque Santa Cruz 27, Matt Derbyshire 68 – Jérémie Aliadière 64)

Shots (on target): 11 (6) – 5 (2)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 5th September 2007

vs. Wigan (away)

This game against Wigan should be a big test. Could we take our first points away from home? Wigan had had a bad start so it was certainly possible. We would play defensively for this match: Low mentality, width and defensive line. Wigan’s Marlon King shouldn’t be closed down while Emile Heskey should.

We got a fantastic start, McCarthy scoring after only 48 seconds. But from there we didn’t manage to do much. We didn’t create anything. Wigan were best and ten minutes into the second half the equalized. Less than ten minutes later they got a penalty. Fortunately, the missed and they lost a bit of confidence after that. We nearly haven’t got anything (beyond our goal) when McCarthy in minute 90 secured our first away points. We got a not totally deserved win.

Result: 2-1 (Benni McCarthy 1, 90 – Kevin Kilbane 55)

Shots (on target): 6 (5)– 13 (6)

Premier League – 15th September 2007

vs. Birmingham (away)

Birmingham had only received one point when we in the sixth round met them and therefore we should of course have all three points. We went to the match without big changes in compare to the Wigan game.

I was for sure not satisfied with the effort in this match. It was embarrassing. After Samba got us two early goals we nearly had nothing and in the last ten minutes Birmingham got two goals to equalize our 2-0 lead. Simply not good enough. In the first place is not good enough that we couldn’t hold our lead and secondly not good enough that we were the worst team on the pitch.

Result: 2-2 (Christopher Samba 4, 27 – Fabrice Muamba 81, Mauro Zárate 90)

Shots (on target): 8 (5)– 17 (6)

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I'm sure when your players find their legs you'll do just fine! Good luck on the pitch and in your writing, which is clear and concise. Slipping in a special plug for Gamst Pedersen, a player I have long admired.

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Rovers

Through Skill and Hard Work

EURO Cup 1st Round Leg 1 – 20th September 2007

vs. Belenenses (home)

We had to get a convincing win in this match to get through to the group stage. And we got a great result. We won 3-0 and we looks like the best total winner. There wasn’t much to say about this match. We dominated from start to finish and got what we came for. McCarthy with his fifth season goal while both Santa Cruz and captain Nelson got their third.

Result: 3-0 (Ryan Nelson 4, Roque Santa Cruz 32, Benni McCarthy 66)

Shots (on target): 18 (8)– 3 (2)

Premier League – 23rd September 2007

vs. Liverpool (away)

For the first time - perhaps with exception of the Chelsea game – we were big underdogs. Liverpool is a difficult team to play against and therefore we also played defensively to start with in this match. We had to mark Liverpool’s Torres tight but not close him down as he could cheat anyone.

We got a frustrating start, Liverpool scoring after corner kick after only two minutes. But we answered back with some good chances and after 20 minutes Bentley scored on a free kick. With five minutes to the break Bentley had the chance to score again on a free kick. The ball ended in the net but it was Liverpools Sami Hyypiä who got the credit – we were in front!

I thought we had to utilise that Hyypiä was a slow player so I took off Santa Cruz and brought on Derbyshire. And what happened? After some great combinations Derbyshire increased our lead. Liverpool’s Mutu scored quickly to 2-3 but after 84 minutes Samba should close the match. Although Liverpool scored to 3-4, it wasn’t enough for three points and we had achieved a fantastic result after a crazy match. Our attack was tremendous in this game while our defense could be improved.

Result: 4-3 (David Bentley 20, Sami Hyypiä (OG) 40, Matt Derbyshire 67, Christopher Samba 84 – Dirk Kuyt 2, Adrian Mutu 69, Fábio Aurélio 86)

Shots (on target): 19 (10)– 16 (9)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

League Cup 3rd Round – 26th September 2007

vs. Leeds (home)

Not much to say. The requirement was three points. We would of course play offensive as we are a better team than Leeds. Derbyshire got the chance instead of top scorer McCarthy.

We smashed Leeds with 6-0 and as hoped we didn’t need to use the big forces in this match. Derbyshire took his chance and scored two goals while Samba as always was dangerous on corners, also scoring two goals. Unfortunately, the game also brought something really bad. David Bentley got a knee injury and would be out for two months.

Result: 6-0 (David Bentley 3, Roque Santa Cruz 13, Matt Derbyshire 18, 90, Christopher Samba 54, 65)

Shots (on target): 16 (8)– 3 (0)

Premier League – 29th September 2007

vs. Manchester United (home)

We defeated Liverpool so there was also a hope of getting points when we met Manchester United at Ewood Park. The league holders had got a great start with five wins and only one defeat in the first seven matches. It would be tough game and we had to be concentrated because of United’s many individualists. We should pay attention to Ronaldo, Giggs and Tevez to start with.

We were extremely close to again to take three points from one of the big teams. Samba gave us the lead after 26 minutes and from there (and also before that) we had defended fantastic. I thought we made the right decisions about the United players. They didn’t have many shots on target but nevertheless they equalized with three minutes to go – what a shame! But one point was certainly acceptable, though we should have won.

As against Leeds one of our key players got injured. This time it was Benni McCarthy – out for two months.

Result: 1-1 (Christopher Samba 26 – Louis Saha 87)

Shots (on target): 15 (6)– 15 (5)

We are unbeaten in five matches in row and are lying at the 5th place after eight rounds which is very statisfying:

League table

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Through Skill and Hard Work

EURO Cup 1st Round Leg 2 – 4th October 2007

vs. Belenenses (away)

Three wins and to draws in september gave me the award as Manager of the Month just before our game against Belenenses. This match had to be won calmly and without major problems. With a 3-0 victory at home we had started well and we should secure the ticket to the group stage.

This was a walkover. We won 4-0 after a Santa Cruz goal and a hattrick from Derbyshire who so far looks like a good substitute for the injured McCarthy. The striker has scored seven goals in seven matches in which he only has started in two of. Just as hoped, we won without problems and we won 7-0 on aggregate and are through to the group stage.

Result: 4-0 (Matt Derbyshire 6, 13, 69, Roque Santa Cruz 46)

Shots (on target): 15 (8)– 10 (3)

Premier League – 29th October 2007

vs. Arsenal (home)

For the third time in succession we had the chance to tease one of the big teams. With a total of four points against Liverpool and Manchester United we were full of confidence. As against the two others we had to mark their key players. And as always against better teams we should also play retracted and defensive. We were actually made to the favorites for the match by Sky Bet.

Arsenal got a convincing win which was disappointing. They were in front with 3-0 already after 55 minutes. Arsenal had scored on two set pieces and were generally better to utilize their chances than us. But it’s difficult to close down Arsenal and because of that we have to keep the good morale and get back on the track. Now we have temporarily overcome the big four teams.

Result: 1-3 (Jason Roberts 87 - Emmanuel Adebayor 21, Aliaksandr Hleb 45, Francesc Fàbregas 55)

Shots (on target): 10 (3)– 16 (8)

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unlucky with the Arsenal game. At least you have the big four out of the way now.

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A fine start, good Sir. I see you've got the centre-halves weighing in with their share of goals from corners. :thup:

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Nice start, you have a good writing techniques; just 1 request. Could you (if possible), when you post the score for away games at the end of your match report, put your score on the away side e.g

West Ham v Blackburn (Away)

...

Result: 1-2 (Bellamy 27 - McCarthy 54, 87)

Just a request

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Nice start, you have a good writing techniques; just 1 request. Could you (if possible), when you post the score for away games at the end of your match report, put your score on the away side e.g

West Ham v Blackburn (Away)

...

Result: 1-2 (Bellamy 27 - McCarthy 54, 87)

Just a request

Hmm, I don't know. It's like in the FM fixtures overview. If I should do as you say - which I also have considered and can understand why you say it - then I should begin to write Blackburn in the top text. Example: "Blackburn vs. Liverpool" instead of only writing "vs. Liverpool".

I will think about it :)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 21st October 2007

vs. Fulham (away)

This game against Fulham should for sure give three points. Everything else would be a little disappointing. Samba was on international duty why Ooijer took his place.

This match wasn’t a pleasure. Fulham defeated us with 3-0 and we couldn’t do anything about it. We didn’t create enough chances and Fulham were better and more effective. A big disappointment and it now looks suddenly less well after a good start. As the icing on the cake, Stephen Warnock was shown the red card in the additional time. A poor, poor result.

Result: 0-3 (Brahim Hemdani 15, Brian McBride 60, Diomansy Kamara 86)

Shots (on target): 4 (2) - 7 (6)

Premier League – 21st October 2007

vs. Fulham (away)

EURO Cup Group H – 25th October 2007

vs. Valencia (home)

We got the chance to get back on the track against Valencia in the first round of the group stage in the EURO Cup. Our other opponents would be Trabzonspor, Rapid and Empoli. For sure a group we had to secure advancement in. One of Valencia’s big names, David Villa, was out with injury and though they still had players like Silva and Vicente we were going after three points.

Our bad run continued as Valencia defeated us with 3-1. Valencia’s top players were difficult to stop and especially Nikola Zigic was fantastic in this match. He scored two times and helped his team in their 3-1 won. Ooijer scored our equalizing goal after 54 minutes but it wasn’t enough to give us point. Now we are forced to do well against the other teams.

Result: 1-3 (Andre Ooijer 54 - Nikola Zigic 25, 31, Edu 67)

Shots (on target): 10 (3) - 16 (10)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 28th October 2007

vs. Bolton (home)

This home match against Bolton had to give all three points. We had to turn our run around and get a good morale back. To help us achieving that, Banni McCarthy was back from injury. I would let him start instead of Derbyshire because of his morale which still was good. As we played home and as Bolton had one point less than us we had to play offensive for this game.

This was embarrassing. We lost 2-1. I thought we played well. We created chances which Bolton didn’t. We were also in front after three minutes. But Bolton were effective. They equalized and four minutes before the end the scored a winning goal on one of their few chances. Halfway through the match I took McCarthy down to a offensive midfield position and that helped the team. We created more but we couldn’t utilize them. A big disappointment. It was our fourth game in row without a win.

As bad news, David Dunn got a injury which will hold him out for two months.

Result: 1-2 (Maceo Rigters 3 – El-Hadji Diouf 9, Heidar Helguson 86)

Shots (on target): 15 (5) - 11 (4)

League Cup 4th Round – 31st October 2007

vs. Sheffield United (away)

Hopefully we could get some confidence back with a win over Sheffield United here and it was definitely also required.

The game started very even and the score at the break was also 1-1. McCarthy had brought us in front while Tonge had equalized on a long shot. But in the second half we took over. It was us that now created the chances. I had changed to a 2-3-2-2-1 formation in at the break and I think I will use that from now to see how that will work. Santa Cruz gave us the win after utilizing a failure by the Sheffield United keeper.

Result: 2-1 (Benni McCarthy 16, Roque Santa Cruz 90 – Michael Tonge 36)

Shots (on target): 17 (5) - 9 (5)

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Mixed start to the season Toby, hopefully consistency will kick in soon

Enjoying the story though, keep it up mate

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 3rd November 2007

vs. Derby (away)

We started this game as we ended the previous; with this formation. McCarthy was out with injury why Santa Cruz was the forward man. Dunn and Bentley were not match ready and Tugay and Rigters respectively were placed at their seats. Beyond that it was the strongest team.

We got a solid win on 3-1. We were by far the best team in first 60 minutes but Derby were dangerous in the final part of the match. We were lucky enough to hold our lead and also close the match in the additional time with a goal from Derbyshire. We are back after four league games without a win.

Result: 3-1 (Roque Santa Cruz 9, Maceo Rigters 47, Matt Derbyshire 90 – Devidas Sembereas 35)

Shots (on target): 16 (6) - 14 (6)

EURO Cup Group H – 8th November 2007

vs. Rapid (away)

A win here against Rapid could be very important in our EURO Cup adventure. Bentley was finally back after an injury so he was placed on the wing instead of Rigters. Beyond that little change we started exactly as against Derby.

This wasn’t our best performance. We didn’t create enough, though we should. As lucky as we were, we got a 1-0 win on an early penalty goal by Tugay. It was an even game but we were a little better than Rapid and got three vital points.

Result: 1-0 (Tugay pen 7)

Shots (on target): 12 (6) - 12 (3)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 11th November 2007

vs. Sunderland (away)

The Black Cats were favorites when we met them in our 13th league game of the season.

But Sunderland couldn’t meet the expectations and we won 3-1 at The Stadium of Light. Kenwyne Jones brought his team in front but a quick equalizer from Santa Cruz and two late goals from Nelsen and Derbyshire turned the game around and secured fourth win in row. That was very satisfying and we had to follow up on this.

Result: 3-1 (Roque Santa Cruz 10, Ryan Nelsen 71, Matt Derbyshire 90 - Kenwyne Jones 7)

Shots (on target): 14 (8) - 14 (5)

Premier League – 24th November 2007

vs. Newcastle (home)

Once again I would – maybe for short break – change my formation. This time it would be with two central defenders, one defensive midfielder, two central midfielders, two wingers, one offensive midfielder and two strikers. If my ideas wouldn’t work here I would return to the 2-3-2-2-1. For the first time our second keeper Jason Brown as Brad Friedel was out with injury (three weeks).

For the first time I thought we made an outstanding performance, at least offensively. We had 16 shots on target and a total number of 20 shots why the new tactic showed to work well temporarily. Santa Cruz scored two goals to reach his 10th league goal of the season while it was Bentley who gave us the three points with a late goal.

Result: 3-2 (Roque Santa Cruz 39, 72, David Bentley 86 – Obafemi Martins 33, 56)

Shots (on target): 20 (16) - 9 (7)

With five wins in row -three of them in the league - we are back on the track and are currently laying on the 6th place.

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Through Skill and Hard Work

EURO Cup Group H – 29th November 2007

vs. Trabzonspor (home)

Three points here and we would be as good as through to the next round of the EURO Cup. Could we play as against Newcastle I wouldn’t doubt that we could win.

It turned out to be another very well succeeded game. We won 4-0 and could easily have won bigger. We created nothing less than 29 shots and Trabzonspor didn’t have a chance to get something out of this match. Derbyshire continued his good European form with two goals and is with five goals one the most scoring so far in the tournament. Another three points and I couldn’t be unsatisfied after such a performance by the team.

Result: 4-0 (Christopher Samba 12, Tugay pen 29, Matt Derbyshire 63, 90)

Shots (on target): 29 (14) - 3 (1)

Premier League – 2nd December 2007

vs. Portsmouth (away)

Just before our game against Portsmouth I received the Manager of the Month price for November why the morale was very high at Blackburn. There wasn’t any reason to change tactics so we started as in the two previous matches.

We continued our fantastic form with a 3-2 win at Fratton Park but this time it wasn’t so convincing though it started very promising. We were in front with 2-0 after 26 minutes and were looking great but then Portsmouth took over the game and equalized. Fortunately it was our night and with four minutes to go McCarthy smashed in a goal and gave us our seventh win in row.

But the match did also bring some bad news. Tugay got an injury which will hold him out for one month while Reid also got injured and is out for three months. With Dunn already out for a month we actually don’t have any central midfielders back why we are forced play players like Emerton and Warnock there from now.

Result: 3-2 (Roque Santa Cruz 16, Maceo Rigters 26, Benni McCarthy 86 – Sulley Muntari 37, Niko Kranjcar 54)

Shots (on target): 10 (7) - 14 (8)

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Rovers

Through Skill and Hard Work

EURO Cup Gropu H – 6th December 2007

vs. Empoli (away)

Though we already looked like through to the next round in the EURO Cup a win was required against the Italians. This time we played with the backs Emerton and Warnock in the center midfield and it should be exciting to see how they would do it.

Though we were the team who created most and had the chances to win we lost 2-1 to Empoli who utilized their chances which we didn’t. Fortunately we got advancement from the group as Trabzonspor didn’t manage to get all three points against Valencia why we before the last round (where we sit out) have four points down to the Turks.

Result: 1-2 (Christopher Samba 90 – Carlo Viganò 23, 41)

Shots (on target): 15 (7) - 7 (5)

Premier League – 9th December 2007

vs. Aston Villa (home)

We had the confidence to take another three points when we met Aston Villa and we would go after them.

After this match I fear that we miss our central midfielders too much and as the icing on the cake Emerton got injured in this match and he’s out for one month – what the hell should we do now? The game ended 0-0, both teams having their chances. I felt we should have won but it wasn’t good enough and I look forward to the transfer window where we have to secure some players.

Result: 0-0

Shots (on target): 9 (7) - 12 (4)

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Rovers

Through Skill and Hard Work

League Cup Quarter Final – 12th December 2007

vs. Newcastle (home)

For our League Cup Quarter Final I had moved Mokoena up to play midfielder and Ooijer took Mokoenas place as defensive midfielder.

Derbyshire and Santa Cruz were on fire in this match and together with a goal each they secured our ticket to the semi final. We started fantastic, leading 2-0 after 27 minutes. But we couldn’t get a grip on the match after that. Newcastle were now the team that created the chances. But they didn’t score and we won 2-0.

Result: 2-0 (Matt Derbyshire 19, Roque Santa Cruz 27)

Shots (on target): 12 (8) - 9 (4)

Premier League – 16th December 2007

vs. Manchester City (away)

City had been a little disappointing in the start of the season and with three defeats in row we had a great opportunity to win at City of Manchester Stadium.

With a fantastic final performance of this game we managed to get one point after a dramatic game that ended 3-3. Manchester City had been dominating the first half completely but were only in front with 2-1. In the second half we got much better and we ended up creating the one opportunity after another. We couldn’t be unsatisfied with one point after the circumstances.

Result: 3-3 (Matt Derbyshire 5, 68, Maceo Rigters 90 – Valeri Bojinov 12, 40, Elano 52)

Shots (on target): 21 (8) - 18 (10)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 22nd December 2007

vs. Tottenham (away)

Another difficult game was waiting, this time against Spurs – again away from home.

After a very even game we got another sensible result and we were even close to win. We were in front with 2-1 15 minutes before time where Robbie Keane in 77th minutes with his second goal equalized. We could thank our two goal scorers McCarthy and Santa Cruz. We were now unbeaten in seven league games in row.

Result: 2-2 (Benni McCarthy 38, Roque Santa Cruz 52 – Robbie Keane 30, 77)

Shots (on target): 14 (6) - 13 (5)

Premier League – 26th December 2007

vs. Everton (home)

Everton were without their top scorer Yakubu (26 goals in 25 matches) while we had Friedel back in goal to this game which was our second last before New Year.

After a really bad first half where Everton were the best team, we did it a lot better in the second half. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to meet the expectations and get three points. The match ended 1-1, Everton scored in the first half, us in second. We have to get better at home. We have only won three games out of nine at Ewood Park while it’s away from home we get most of our points.

Result: 1-1 (Benni McCarthy 52 – Andy Johnson 12)

Shots (on target): 14 (8) - 17 (8)

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Rovers

Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 29th December 2007

vs. Chelsea (away)

The odds weren’t on our side when we met Chelsea on Stamford Bridge. We hadn’t won for three games but were unbeaten in last eight league matches and were of course going for points in the last game of the year.

Chelsea were just too good and they won the game with 2-0 and should have won bigger. Chelsea’s individualists were difficult to close down and stop and when we didn’t manage to do so they created a lot of chances. After eight games unbeaten we were defeated in our last game of the year. That meant that we three two places down to the 8th place after for a long being placed as number five or six.

Result: 0-2 (Didier Drogba 7, Frank Lampard 73)

Shots (on target): 12 (1) - 22 (11)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

1st January 2008

We turned to 2008 and the transfer window opened. We had already made some deals and could present to new players. Harry Kewell was coming from Liverpool for £925.000 to improve our injured midfield – but guess what? He’s out for two months.

Dentinho was the other man. He’s only 18 years old but we can already use him as a quick forward with good technique. We had to give £4.500.000 for the Brazilian.

We have secured some other faces but they aren’t coming now. 17 year old Bernardo is secured from Cruzeiro and will join the squad the 1st July. Douglas, who is another 17 year old Brazilian (and very promising attacking midfielder), will join us in a year, the 1st January 2009. Lastly, the 15 year old Grêmio player Gérson have to wait three years before his can call himself a Rovers player.

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 1st January 2008

vs. Wigan (home)

Nothing less than a win home against Wigan would very disappointing. Dentinho was starting on the bench with the change to get debut while David Dunn was back from injury, also starting on the bench.

Fantastic performance, embarrassing and very frustrating result. We lost 3-2 after having bombed the Wigan goal from the start. We should have won here but we didn’t which was very difficult to accept.

Result: 2-3 (Christopher Samba 38, Benni McCarthy 81 - Jason Koumas 5, 56, Marlon King 90)

Shots (on target): 20 (13) - 8 (5)

FA Cup 3rd Round – 5th January 2008

vs. Fulham (away)

We wanted to go long in the FA Cup why a win of course was required when we met Fulham in the third round.

But we didn’t get a win and it was going very downhill for this moment. We lost 2-0 and hadn’t won for six games. Our play in this match wasn’t ever good and Fulham deserved their win as they created most. We have to get back on the track soon.

Result: 0-2 (Eddie Johnson 1, 38)

Shots (on target): 10 (4) - 14 (6)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

League Cup Semi Final Leg 1 – 9th January 2008

vs. Liverpool (home)

A ticket to League Cup final would be great but Liverpool would be a tough opponent why our expectations didn’t reach too high. Liverpool were only saving a few players (Torres among others) so we had to be aware.

After a great start where McCarthy brought us in front, Liverpool took over the game and scored two goals before the 90 minutes were played. We were now far, far away from the final and we have to beat Liverpool at Anfield.

Result: 1-2 (Benni McCarthy 12 – Jermaine Pennant 37, Peter Crouch 52)

Shots (on target): 11 (6) - 14 (10)

Premier League – 13th January 2008

vs. Reading (away)

Samba, Mokoena, Reid, Gamst Pedersen, Kewell, Roberts, Santa Cruz and Santana (still needs work permit) were out when we played Reading away from home. We were still fighting with injuries but Dunn was at least ready to play.

It looked like another defeat when Lita scored to 2-1 with ten minutes but Derbyshire equalized in the additional time to give us one point. I thought it would be a win after Derbyshire’s goal after six minutes but Wigan got better and were close to victory. I was still not satisfied with things.

Result: 2-2 (Matt Derbyshire 6, 90 – Ibrahima Sonko 30, Leroy Lita 84)

Shots (on target): 13 (6) - 14 (9)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

Premier League – 19th January 2008

vs. West Ham (home)

We had to turn our bad run around when we met West Ham. For this match I tried a new thing. West Ham were only playing with one forward why I moved one of my two central defenders up to play defensive midfielder.

It was a brilliant performance by the players. My one-man-defense seemed to work and West Ham didn’t create much – but we did. We came to 27 shots and it was incredibly that we only won 1-0. West Ham’s keeper was also Man of the Match. We finally won and Friedel was holding clean sheet for the first time in a long time.

Result: 1-0 (Christopher Samba 47)

Shots (on target): 27 (13) - 7 (2)

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Through Skill and Hard Work

League Cup Semi Final Leg 2 – 23rd January 2008

vs. Liverpool (away)

After our 2-1 defeat at home it didn’t look to promising for our second leg against Liverpool. But we had defeated Liverpool one time at Anfield this season and could do it again. Especially because Liverpool didn’t play with all their strongest players.

It was a poor Liverpool team and should have won this game but we didn’t. The match ended 1-1 after we had had the chances to win and take the ticket to the final. We could be satisfied with our performance but it wasn’t enough.

Result: 1-1 (Roque Santa Cruz 45 - Lucas 22)

Shots (on target): 15 (3) - 5 (3)

Premier League – 30th January 2008

vs. Birmingham (home)

We had to follow up on our 1-0 win against West Ham and a victory against Birmingham was for sure required.

After a convincing result we took our 10th league win and moved up to 6th place. Birmingham was hammered 4-0 after a fantastic hattrick by Derbyshire. The striker had now scored 19 goals. Santa Cruz brought us in front after only 16 seconds and from there we owned the game, ending up with a 4-0 win.

Result: 4-0 (Roque Santa Cruz 1, Matt Derbyshire 3, 45, 69)

Shots (on target): 15 (9) - 11 (3)

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It's with a frustrated voice that I now have to say that I have lost motivation. It's not because of the game but because of my computer which suddenly had to restart because of some updates. I had among other things lost 7-3 to United, won 4-0 and 3-1 over respectively Fulham and Liverpool and beaten by Lazio in the EURO Cup. These matches are now forgotten and I have to replay them. I'm not sure that I have the motivation for that.

:(

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