Monday 19 March 2018

Allardyce: We are happy to be back

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has put the flood of goals in the Barclays Premier League down to the joys of the new season. A remarkable 35 goals were scored in nine matches over Saturday and yesterday, thanks largely to 6-0 wins recorded by Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle.

With Chelsea having also won 6-0 on the opening day of the season, the competition has got off to an exhilarating start - but Allardyce does not think it will last long.

"We're all so glad to be playing football again," said Allardyce, whose side have been one of the more circumspect, involved in a 1-0 win and a 2-1 loss.

"I think we are all excited to be back on the field.

"Apart from the World Cup players, it has been a long time since last May for us.

"We were all looking forward to the season and we all think we are better than we were last season.

"You'll either start very well or you'll get caught out - generally that's the case until it levels itself out after eight or 10 games.

"As time goes on it gets tighter and tighter as we get used to who all the new players are and the new systems.

"When the pressure comes on throughout the season the results tend to level themselves out a bit.

"It is something that is exciting everyone but what you don't want as a manager is to be on the end of one."

Blackburn began their season with a hugely encouraging defeat of Everton but then slipped up at Birmingham on Saturday.

Allardyce remains perplexed by the St Andrew's result, feeling his side deserved to return home with at least a point.

He said: "Everton was a big result for us and a big performance.

"But, going away from home, Saturday was a better performance all round apart from a couple of slips defensively.

"Birmingham got two goals that overall they didn't deserve but managed to get.

"The overall performance was very good, particularly for 20 minutes in the second half but because we didn't bury the opposition - poor finishing and outstanding goalkeeping - we didn't get far enough in front to cope with the rest of the game.

"A little bit of panic set in and a couple of errors they capitalised on.

"Instead of getting at least a point we had none when we should have had three. That is the cruelty of the Premier League."

Blackburn return to action tomorrow as they take on npower Championship side Norwich at Ewood Park in the second round of the Carling Cup.

Allardyce intends to make some changes with a tough game against Arsenal at the weekend in mind, but his options are limited by injuries to Vince Grella, Pascal Chimbonda, Keith Andrews and David Dunn.

All four are doubtful and unlikely to feature.

Allardyce said: "The side will be very experienced but there will be some of the younger element involved.

"We're looking forward to the game, I think it will be a very good match.

"Their focus will be on the league and securing their position after getting promoted but they will want to come and enjoy it and get a decent scalp if we can.

"We have to try to avoid that and be as professional as we were last year at Gillingham, when we won the game comfortably."

Meanwhile, Allardyce is hoping to sign Bulgarian striker Ivelin Popov this week.

The 22-year-old has been on trial at Ewood Park but Rovers denied claims by the player's club Litex Lovech last week that a deal had already been completed.

Allardyce said: "We had a little look at him and we are in tentative negotiations.

"He is a very good young prospect but whether all the numbers stand up is another matter."

Allardyce is anxious to recruit more firepower to supplement Niko Kalinic before the summer transfer window closes.

He added: "I don't want to be doing anything after Friday of this week - I don't want to be panicking or judging the market in the last couple of days of the window."

Former Manchester City and Portsmouth forward Benjani has also been training with Blackburn this month with a view to a possible deal.

Press Association

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