HENNING Berg will urge Blackburn Rovers’ crowd pleaser Ruben Rochina to express himself as the Spaniard looks set to be handed a second chance at Ewood Park.
Rovers’ new boss has hailed Rochina a “fantastic talent”, after impressing in his first two games in charge, and will encourage the 21-year-old play-maker to continue having faith in his own ability.
Rochina has endured a frustrating start to life in England, after signing from Barcelona B in January 2011, with former boss Steve Kean often leaving him on the substitutes bench or out of the squad entirely.
He made just 13 starts last season and had made just three starts this time around, before Berg’s arrival.
Rochina though, impressed in a second half cameo during Berg’s first game in charge, Saturday’s defeat at Palace, and continued where he left off with a starring role in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Huddersfield.
Berg said: “We know he has quality on the ball and we want him to express himself. We want him to use his best qualities and, as long as he does it in the right areas at the right times, it is fantastic.
“He is a fantastic talent. His technique, his skill, his control, his dribbling is fantastic, his positional play was very, very good as well. So I think there will be a lot more coming from him.
“He is fantastic to watch, with the way he moves and the way he plays, and for us we just have to find the right balance in the team, making sure we have the players around him that can compliment his qualities so we can get the best out of everybody.”
Rochina played a key role in Jordan Rhodes’ opener at the John Smith’s Stadium in midweek, before limping out of the action on 82 minutes with cramp.
He is expected to be fit for Saturday’s visit of Birmingham, with Berg looking to make the most of his obvious quality.
“The ball for Jordan is a fantastic one,” said Berg. “When Ruben plays it is important to make sure he gets the ball in the right positions. He did that, he was a bit of unlucky with his shooting, but his ball for Jordan’s goal was fantastic.
“His positional play was very, very good. He is a great player and he showed that against Palace when he came on.
“He made a difference in terms of holding the ball up, making sure we got more possession higher up the pitch. He’s a good player and I look forward to working even more with him.”
Berg is yet to record his first win as Rovers boss but believes Tuesday’s display in Yorkshire was “a step in the right direction”.
“The overall performance was good,” he said. “This is how we want to play, this is what we want to see. We were very, very disappointed not to get the three points.
“We did many good things and the players have to look at themselves and say ‘yes we are on the right way, we are improving’.
“It was a huge improvement in terms of the defensive play and the tactical play, both with the ball and without it. I am happy that we are improving and of course there is room for more improvement. This was a good step in the right direction.”