MICHAEL Appleton believes a “positive” Ewood Park played a big role in Rovers’ improved midweek display – after insisting there was a lot to be encouraged about from the 1-1 draw.
David Lopez’s injury time equaliser may have cost Rovers a crucial win against Brighton on Tuesday night but boss Appleton insisted he saw enough from his men to be confident about the future.
Appleton’s Rovers reign started with a hugely disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Charlton at the weekend, with the presence of owners Venky’s at Ewood leading to a subdued Ewood atmosphere.
The former Blackpool boss noted a marked change in the mood of the supporters on Tuesday night and stressed the importance the Ewood faithful have.
He said: “The atmosphere did help, I would be amazed if anyone thought it wasn’t a different atmosphere to what it was on Saturday. The crowd got behind the team in a positive manner and the players responded, it does help.
“From the first minute we knew how we were going to set up. From the kick off, I think they had the ball for 90 seconds but it was exactly what we wanted because we knew we would hit them on the counter attack, time and time again.
“The longer the game went on, I have probably not felt as relaxed as that for a long time standing on a side of the pitch because I just didn’t think we would concede.
“We controlled the game in terms of we knew exactly how Brighton play and how we would deal with it. Their keeper was certainly a lot busier than ours.
“If we got the second goal we would have won the game comfortably but, as it was, leading 1-0 there is always an opportunity for the opposition to get something at some point.
“I think the most disappointing thing is for 45 seconds the fourth official was screaming down his mic, that’s it, its done, its finished. To concede after that is disappointing.”
While Appleton was disappointed with the time of Brighton’s equaliser, he was also left frustrated at David Goodwillie’s rash challenge to concede the penalty.
But, with Derby County up next in the FA Cup on Saturday, the Rovers boss was quick to stress no one would be allowed to feel sorry for themselves.
He said: “It is a silly challenge from David he knows that. It has cost us. David does not need to say anything.
“I said to the players, especially at this level, when the ball goes in behind you you tend to get a second bite of the cherry. So you don’t have to be as anxious as what David was on the night because at Premier League level you don’t get a chance to get back.
“But in the Championship, they tend to have an extra touch and that was my message to the players. It might happen again in the cup against Derby when a player goes through and we do something rash.
“My point to the players is they tend to take a second or third touch so you will always get the chance to get back. It was rash, he knows that but there is no point in harping on about it. I don’t like players feeling sorry for themselves and I’m sure we will move on very quickly.
“It is a kick in the teeth for us but the one thing I don’t want it to distract from is the performance of the team. I thought the lads played very, very well on the night.”