Date:Friday October 5 2007
Blackburn Rovers were left ruing what might have been after crashing out of the UEFA Cup on Thursday Evening, but Rover manager Mark Hughes now admits we left ourselves too much to do after our defeat in Greece.
Let's not beat about the bush here Rovers WERE the clear favourites to win this tie, we shouldn't have gone out as over two legs we should have won the tie but even after Thursday's 2-1 win at Ewood Park in the second leg the disastrous 2-0 first leg defeat in Greece meant that Larissa advanced to the group stages of the UEFA Cup 3-2 on aggregate. Despite all his talk to the contrary after the match Hughes basically admitted that we were out after the 2-0 defeat in the first leg.
Speaking on Radio Rovers Hughes said: "Yes it is frustrating, but if we are honest over the two legs we have given ourselves far too much to do.
"In the first leg we conceded two poor goals and the goal tonight wasn't one we were very impressed with.
"Fair play to the lads we kept going, we won the game and that is a positive to take into the game at the weekend, but we are disappointed obviously as we have enjoyed our games in Europe."
With Larissa going ahead on Thursday night, taking a 3-0 aggregate lead the match was dead; goals from Matt Derbyshire and Stephen Warnock were not enough as another European campaign ended disappointingly early. However, Hughes was quick to praise Larissa, whom he wishes well for the rest of the UEFA Cup.
He added: "Larissa are a decent side, they have pace in good areas, they were always a threat on the break and it was always difficult to over-commit because of that threat in behind.
"We just needed, when we threw a few guys forward, for something to break for us and then we could have built some momentum and then possibly do it.
"But good luck to Larissa, they played well over the two legs, but as I said we gave ourselves too much to do.
"We always knew we could score at least two goals against them but if we hadn't conceded the poor goal that we did then it could have been all set up for a grandstand finish. But their goal gave them great heart and something to protect and towards the end they just got everybody behind the ball and it was very hard to get the space to create anything in the final third."
However, Rovers WILL BE BACK and Sparky stressed how we will learn from this and SHOULD come back stronger in the future.
Sparky also said: "We're disappointed, but we need to learn from games like this, European teams set you different problems and in the future we'll be better."
This is a major disappointment (we can't say it isn't), which is what I am feeling disappointment not the gutted feeling I did last season when we went out to Bayer Leverkusen. We shouldn't have gone out so early in this competition but basically it's our own fault isn't it. We now have to move on and make sure we get back into Europe next season, and we can start with three points against Birmingham City in the League on Sunday!!!
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Date:Friday October 5 2007
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