Club Focus – Blackburn Rovers – Big Sam angry with lack of Rovers ambition

Sam Allardyce slammed his side’s defensive display as Rovers were beaten 4-2 by Tottenham Hotspur. The visitors seemed to be heading for an embarrassing battering by the Champions League outfit, but goals from Ryan Nelsen and Gael Givet ensured the final score line was slightly more respectable.

Man of the moment Gareth Bale broke the deadlock after just quarter of an hour with a neat header. Roman Pavlyuchenko then wasted two glorious opportunities to leave Blackburn completely out of sight. First, the Russian skied a shot having been gifted the ball from youngster Phil Jones. Then, the striker missed a penalty, leaving Spurs fans to wonder whether this was going to be another one of those days. However, the Russian made up for his error with a brilliant headed goal just before half time.

Blackburn came close when Morten Gamst Pedersen saw his shot cleared off the line, but poor defensive work from Givet gave Rovers an even bigger mountain to climb, when Peter Crouch stole the ball off the Frenchman and scored. Bale then rounded off the scoring for Spurs, albeit controversially after Dutchman Van der Vaart appeared to handle the ball in the build-up.

With Rovers heading for a thrashing, centre-back Nelsen tucked the ball past Gomes to get on the scoresheet and Givet made amends for his earlier error with a powerful shot which beat the Spurs keeper. As impressive as they were to grab two goals against a good Tottenham side, Big Sam was upset with the defensive display which saw his team out of the game well before their comeback.

Allardyce described the defending as ‘diabolical’ and said: “It’s no good gifting the opposition four goals before you start putting the ball in the back of the net. We gave ourselves too bigger mountain to climb by not doing the basic defending right.” The result leaves Rovers in 14th place, with 15 points from 13 games. But it is not all doom and gloom for Allardyce’s side. They may only be two points above the drop-zone, but such is the tightness of the Premier League table this campaign that Rovers find themselves just four points away from fifth-placed Bolton.

And the Blues have several opportunities to pick up points and start climbing up the table soon. Although they will come against Villa at home next, before a trip to Old Trafford, the Lancashire side then face plenty of teams who they will expect to take points from including Wolves, Bolton, West Ham, Stoke, West Brom and Sunderland. Providing they pick themselves up sooner rather than later, Blackburn could find themselves in a good position come January.

January could be a vital month for the Blues, particularly if Venky’s complete their takeover in time for the transfer window. Allardyce so desperately needs a creative midfielder to provide his forwards with more service and crucially, a quality striker is a must if Rovers are to match last season’s top half finish. Until then, Big Sam’s side, who beat Wigan and Newcastle recently, must win games against similar opposition to stay out of relegation trouble.

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