Only three days apart but Rovers show a completely different performance

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Andy Watson gives his verdict as Rovers return to winning ways with a victory over Sheffield United.

I know that every fan of every football team up and down the country thinks that following their team requires a health warning, but the last five days supporting Blackburn Rovers really does have me questioning my sanity.

To go from total devastation after seeing us all at sea against Fulham and shipping seven, to what we saw at Ewood this afternoon makes you wonder if the whole club doesn’t have some kind of “Two-Face” dilemma.

I think that we all thought the devastation was going to continue after two minutes though. This habit we seem to have developed against the better teams of conceding early needs to be binned. It’s probably just variance but it is a concern, and one that Mowbray himself voiced this week. He must have been angry to see Brewster’s shot go in. Of course, it was inevitable that the mis-firing big money signing would break his duck against us. Thankfully, it seemed to spur us on rather than flatten us.

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The fact that this was the case speaks very well to the players, but also the staff. There is no way that the players on that pitch were ones that had given up, they were clearly playing for the manager/the club and the effort to get back into the game paid dividends.

There had been flashes of quality from Khadra and Poveda already in the game. The changes that Mowbray had made, putting the team into a 4-2-3-1 style shape meant that the wide men did have a little bit more licence, albeit some of their defensive work was questionable, but the opportunities they created the other way more than compensated for it.

Well played Mowbray, but even better played for the recruitment team. I, amongst many many others, have been a touch critical of the loanees this season. Here is where these flair players justified themselves. Khadra has now shown that he is effective from the start and Poveda finally seems to be fully fit, which means his effort is there in both directions.

The comeback was thrilling. The counter-attacks in the second half always seemed to lead to excellent chances and goes to prove once again that we really do suit this transition-based style.

It was a bit more shaky at the back but even so Scott Wharton’s return to the team caught the eye. He can’t have been fully fit but he added so much balance to the defence and contributed to numerous headed clearances. The partnership with Lenihan seemed to click straightaway again and it’s great to have him back in the fold.

So we head into the final international break in 2021 level on points with 6th place QPR, if we hadn’t been battered midweek then we’d be in the playoffs. But we are about as well placed as anyone could’ve expected before the season started.

With all of the talk of Mowbray Out this week it feels so strange to be speaking so positively. No doubt it will come around again but I’m going to enjoy having the break now not thinking about the negatives of Tuesday, but the positives of Saturday. Well done all concerned.

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