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Ewood return is 'like coming home' for Blackburn Rovers boss Berg
A PREMIER League winner’s medal, top flight promotion and a Worthington Cup success, it is no wonder Henning Berg describes his Ewood Park return this afternoon as ‘coming home’.
Rovers’ new boss is one of the most decorated players in the club’s history, with no major trophy won without him since 1928. Now he bids to restore former glories as manager.
Berg’s start to life at the helm has brought just one point from his first two games but, a decade on since he last ran out at Ewood, the Norwegian can’t wait for that ‘special feeling’ as he prepares for his home bow against Birmingham City.
Berg said: “I haven’t been back many times to Ewood Park, maybe a couple of times.
“I haven’t been too many times but we do get Blackburn games on TV in Norway so when they were on I tried to get a look, but the main priority was my own team of course.
“I always followed their results and watched their progress.
“It will be special for me (returning to Ewood). I really look forward to it. When I was driving to the press conference it was a good feeling driving the same roads and seeing many of the same people who were working there back then.
“I was there for seven-and-a-half years and enjoyed some very happy times. Both in terms of playing and results and in terms of the working environment and the people in the club. It was a fantastic environment for me to develop as a player.
“It was a fantastic time, I only have good memories, in both spells. It will be a special feeling, it’s like coming home really.”
While a lot of things have changed at Rovers since Berg helped the club back into the Premier League, he admits memories of the past have already come flooding back.
“I went into the office first and I saw the Rovers Player guy Alan Yardley, who was here back then, then here at the training ground you have the same secretary, and Steve Patrick who works with the pitch,” said Berg.
“I don’t know everyone’s names, but there are a lot of people still here. The couple who look after the kids in the afternoon, the house parents. I see them every afternoon because I can work late afternoons as the family is still in Norway and there is still a lot to do.
“Of course Simon the chef, Dave Fevre was there working with me.
“There are many, many people.”
Berg is also fully aware of the turbulent times surrounding Ewood over the past two years. He has seen the protests from afar and watched ‘his club’ drop into English football’s second tier.
As he prepares to be welcomed back by the Ewood faithful though he only has thoughts on the future.
He said: “I know there has been frustrating times.
“But I hope that people see that there are changes being made.
“I have just started and what has happened in the past, we are aware of it, but we are not going to go into it, we are going forward.
“We are looking to the future.
“There is the potential to go up and back into the Premier League and if the supporters can see the team cares and giving everything they can, they will support them.
“But it is up to them to make sure we have the work ethic, that we try our best and that we have the quality to dominate games.
“If we do that, knowing these supporters, I know they will be behind us.”
Rovers entertain Birmingham sitting in the last of the play-off positions with Berg looking to stamp his mark on the team.
“We want to play football, that is how we got promoted the last time, with the players we had we played attacking football and we are looking to do that,” he said.
“But at the same time we are not going to be naive.
“We know there is going to be defending to do, we know there are physical challenges to be made and we know we have to compete. The best teams in the world they have that balance.
“They have the technical players but those players also do the job physically and defensively. It is very, very possible to do both.”
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