Harris post-Blackburn | A resilient point
BLACKBURN REACTION | HARRIS
The Bluebirds picked up a point on the road on Saturday, battling to a goalless draw at Ewood Park.
Following the match, City boss Neil Harris spoke to the press and media in Lancashire, praising the spirit of his team, who played the final twenty minutes of the fixture with ten men after Lee Tomlin’s dismissal.
“I think in the circumstances of losing a player so early in the game in Joe Bennett, and playing the last twenty minutes with ten men, a clean sheet was a resilient point today.” Neil began. “I’m really proud of my players, for their backs-to-the-wall defending at the end. I think we deserved at least a point, and I’m really pleased with the players’ efforts.”
Tomlin was shown two yellow cards in the second half to leave the Bluebirds with the numerical disadvantage and, while Harris commented on the dismissal, he underlined his satisfaction with the team’s performance.
“I need to see the second one from a different angle, but I didn’t have many complaints about it at the time,” he continued. “If he’s caught the player, then I understand. However, the first one is never a yellow card, so we’re a little bit disappointed with that. It happens in football, and that’s a test of character for the players.”
“We spoke beforehand about resilience, and having that ‘clean sheet mentality’. We didn’t have that in our two home games, but we showed it at Forest, and we’ve had it here today. At the other end, I thought a lot of the pressure was from us, especially in the first half. Junior Hoilett and Sheyi Ojo got into good positions for their shots, and we put some dangerous balls into the box.”
The boss singled out individual players for praise following some fine displays, including goalkeeper Alex Smithies, and young duo Jordi Osei-Tutu and Sheyi Ojo.
“I still think we can be tidier at times, and limit the chances we give away,” he said. “The best chance of the game, Adam Armstrong’s 1v1 in the first half, Alex Smithies made a great save. Sometimes, when there are key moments in games you need moments of quality from experienced players, and Alex provided that today.”
“I think Jordi Osei-Tutu and Sheyi Ojo had their best games so far. Jordi showed his pace and his quality with those forward runs, but also his defensive mindset. Sheyi has got unbelievable ability, so we have to fill him with confidence and let him be himself. His work ethic, tracking back against ten men in particular, was a top effort. Those two boys are going to develop all the time with us.”
Finally, with a two-week interval for international matches coming up, Harris took a look ahead towards the busy period of Championship action which will greet the lads in a fortnight’s time.
“After the international break, we’ll be going into a period where we have seven games in three weeks.,” he concluded. “Everybody is going to be needed, everybody will get opportunities. We will get better and better all the time, and we’ve now got a period where we can work on the training pitch, especially in that final third.”