Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray praised “exciting talent” Joe Rothwell after his first goal for the club set them on their way to a 2-0 win over Sky Bet Championship play-off hopefuls Derby.
Rovers bounced back from three straight defeats in emphatic style through Rothwell’s lofted finish in the 76th minute, before Bradley Dack’s close-range tap-in – his 16th goal this season – put the finishing touch to a result that Blackburn’s performance merited.
After losing four of their last five home games without scoring, this result and performance was a welcome relief for Blackburn, and Mowbray praised Rothwell’s contribution.
He said: “(Danny) Graham’s strength and power created it (our first goal) and Rothwell ran in behind and finished it with great aplomb.
“He dinked it over the goalie and I thought it epitomised his performance. He’s an exciting talent, he’s exceedingly fast, he keeps the ball really tight. We want him running towards the opposition goal rather than across the pitch.
“But overall, it’s really difficult to pick out any individual tonight because I thought the performance of the team is what stood out and the result mirrored that. We could have scored more goals tonight and probably deserved to. But, take the three points, put them in the bag.
“When you’ve been on the run we’ve been on, you do half look over your shoulder. Tonight, we got to 50 points – though we went down two seasons ago with 51 – but we’ve got to keep playing, express ourselves and pick up as many points as we can.”
It was a sobering evening for the Rams, who have not won on the road since December and will have to arrest that slump to make the top six.
Manager Frank Lampard conceded the performance was not good enough.
He said: “The performance wasn’t good, and we’ve not been like that. Our performances have been good in the last batch of games.
“Today it wasn’t, and you drop your standards in this league, if a lot of your players in the team are not at their best, it’s hard to win games so I can’t complain tonight.
“It was the second balls. The balls that dropped down consistently in the game, we weren’t there for.
“And normally that’s our game – our energy and winning balls back, and it wasn’t there today for whatever reason. Whether there’s an element of tiredness, I don’t like excuses. It just wasn’t there today.
“This is the Championship and we see teams across the board have these moments.
“Finding the consistency is everyone’s battle but we’re not in a position to moan because we know what we’re capable of and we have to get back to it quickly.”