‘Everyone behind the ball’ – Blackburn boss Mowbray gives verdict on Stoke City ahead of re-match


Tony Mowbray is expecting to meet a slightly more expansive Stoke City side when they lock horns again this weekend.

Stoke were able to defend a 1-0 lead from an early Nick Powell goal when Blackburn Rovers came to the bet365 Stadium last month.

Michael O’Neill was managing a big injury list at the time but the arrival of new blood over the last couple of weeks – Rabbi Matondo, Jack Clarke and Rhys Norrington-Davies could make league debuts – might make for a different game this time around.

“Having signed two wingers this week, this suggests to me that Michael will be more expansive with that speed and directness added to the side,” said Mowbray in an interview for the Blackburn website.

“Stoke look a strong outfit and it’s a big test for us, but it’s a test that we’re all looking forward to.”

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He added: “There’s a lot of teams in this league showing us a lot of respect and putting everyone behind the ball.

“We went to Stoke three or four weeks ago and they were a bit like that. It was like trying to break down a defensive block and we couldn’t quite do that.

“At the other end, we let them score after three or four minutes and that allowed them to sit in and make life difficult for us.

“Stoke have got some very talented footballers and they’re having a decent season. Michael O’Neill is a very experienced coach who knows how to set his side up out of possession.

“They have enough talent in the final third of the pitch to ask questions of us. They’re a powerful team with an ex-international manager in charge.”





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