HENNING Berg expressed his frustration that Blackburn Rovers were unable to secure all three points in yesterday’s East Lancashire derby at Turf Moor after admitting that they were ‘so close’ to victory.
Rovers had led 1-0 against fierce rivals Burnley, with Jordan Rhodes’ 68th-minute header putting them ahead despite a performance that was below par for long periods – particularly before half time.
But Sam Vokes came off the bench to nod in a free kick in the 89th minute and secure a 1-1 draw for the home side.
The result maintained Rovers’ 33-year unbeaten record against Burnley but Berg was disappointed that his side could not see out the game.
“Looking at the chances and the play, we can’t have too many complaints about the result,” said the Rovers boss, who was taking part in his first derby match as the club’s manager.
“But when you are 1-0 up and it’s the 89th minute, it doesn’t matter what the game has been like before that and who has had the most chances, we still have a very good chance of winning the game.
“Maybe if you looked before the game you would say a draw would have been okay but when you’re that close to winning, and the way we played in the second half, I thought we did much much better.
“Looking at the first half performance you would say Burnley were the better team with more chances and more play.
“But we were very close to getting a great result. It would have been a fantastic result and we were that close.”
Paul Robinson made some important saves to keep the score at 0-0 in the first half and Berg admitted that Rovers did not cope perfectly with the derby experience before the interval, having also made three changes for the match.
“Maybe we got caught a little bit in terms of not settling down and playing football as we would have liked to,” he said.
“We changed it a little bit in terms of how we wanted to play as well, so maybe that’s why the game ended up being liked that in the first half because we played a little bit differently.
“We were just being a bit more direct. In a game like that it’s okay to do that but we got caught doing it a little bit too much, we didn’t find the right balance.
“That is something we’ll work on. I thought in the second half we were much better at it.
“I thought Burnley were the better team in the first half and I thought we shaded it in the second half.
“We defended better, higher up the pitch in the second half and used the ball better, and we scored a great goal.
“We’d been defending those free kicks and corners all day long fantastically well.
“I have to give credit to the back four, the goalkeeper and the two central midfielders.
“We were put under pressure a little bit too many times in the first half, they saved us and made sure we were still in the game.
“We were giving away a little bit too many free kicks in dangerous areas and towards the end it was one too many.
“We would like to improve in terms of how we defend and get free kicks against us.
“If we take a little bit more care of the ball, a little more mental strength then I think we would have won the game.
“But 1-1 is not the worst result.”