Friday 24 November 2017

Allardyce seeks Rovers response

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce claims his players continually punch above their weight but is demanding a response after last week's humiliation by Manchester United.

Rovers host struggling Wolves at Ewood Park tomorrow looking to bounce back after a 7-1 thrashing at Old Trafford.

Allardyce believes that result highlighted how poorly resourced his squad is but he has confidence in their ability to recover.

Allardyce said: "We were punished heavily by a very good team.

"It's brought back home to everybody - but I already knew this - that we have been overachieving.

"It caught up with us because the squad was depleted and Manchester United were brilliant.

"We deservedly lost 7-1 but don't forget we have been working on a shoestring budget for a long time.

"That shoestring budget and lack of investment caught up with us last week.

"But the players know their responsibility. They know they have let themselves and the club down and want to put that right tomorrow.

"They are a very determined group and have been working very hard in my time at the club. I can't really recall over the last two years when they have let me down.

"They were disappointed last week but the reality is it was one game and we have got to move on and make sure there is no lingering lack of confidence.

"I just hope the reaction is the right one tomorrow."

Allardyce, boosted by the recent takeover of the club by Indian firm Venky's, is hoping to strengthen his squad in next month's transfer window.

Until then he must continue with a group ravaged by injuries.

Nikola Kalinic, Steven Nzonzi, Martin Olsson, Vince Grella and Keith Andrews are all currently on the sidelines.

On the positive side, Morten Gamst Pedersen is fit to return and on-loan Mame Biram Diouf is available again after being ineligible to face parent club United.

"We do have serious injury problems still," Allardyce said.

"You want the selection process to be very difficult as a manager but our selection process is not difficult. The team almost picks itself at the moment."

Allardyce's preparations have also been hampered by the recent wintry weather.

Rovers boast excellent training facilities at Brockhall Village but, not only have their outdoor pitches been out of use, but the secluded complex itself has been difficult to access.

Allardyce said: "It is always a difficult week when you have had a bad defeat and what makes it worse is the weather.

"All our training grounds were frozen and even Ewood has been difficult to get on.

"Travel in for the players has also been a major concern.

"You can say you'll get them training no matter what but you could be putting lives at risk asking them to drive in these conditions.

"You have to think outside the box when the weather is like this.

"We have done as much as we can in the gym and with small games in the indoor arena.

"The first time we have been able to train properly is at Ewood today.

"It's not what we wanted but we have to cope with the conditions we have got."

Rovers remain 13th in the table having started to pick their season up with three wins in four prior to the United debacle.

Allardyce wants last week quickly forgotten as his team enter a crucial phase of the season.

He said: "It is about getting out there and playing like we did against Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago - forget the gloom that everyone seems to descend upon you when you lose a game.

"These are the defining few fixtures for what we are going to achieve this season. If we play our best they are winnable for us.

"We have got to try to win as many in the next four or five as we can."

Wolves are Allardyce's boyhood club but the Dudley native has no room for sentiment.

"It's always a special game for me, my old club, and to see Mick (McCarthy), who I know well," he said.

"But hopefully they come here and go back as miserable as last season when we beat them 3-1."

Press Association

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