MICHAEL Appleton insists Blackburn Rovers’ memorable FA Cup triumph at Arsenal was “for the fans” as they moved into the FA Cup quarter finals.
The Rovers boss masterminded a famous Emirates Stadium triumph on Saturday and immediately dedicated the win to the blue and white army.
Colin Kazim-Richards was the match-winner, with a second half strike, as 1,400 travelling fans celebrated a moment to remember.
Appleton said: “All credit to the fans.
“Days like this are about the fans, they will go back to Blackburn absolutely buzzing and rightly so because they played their part in what was a manful performance from everyone.
“We are in the next round and will look forward to Tuesday.”
Arsenal dominated possession for much of the fifth round tie but, with Rovers defending solidly throughout, the Gunners struggled to break Appleton’s men down.
Rovers have now not conceded a goal from open play in more than nine hours of football, as Appleton continues to make his mark.
He said: “The place is booming in the dressing room.
“I thought we got what we deserved, I thought we soaked up a lot of pressure, we had to respect the opposition.
“We defended manfully and got a little bit of luck when we needed it. I openly admitted we work really hard on defending in training, we work on our shape a lot as it is important to make sure you are hard to beat before you start going a little gun-ho.
“I think we are getting to a point where the players understand what I want from them out of possession. If we can add to that with a little bit of quality and a little bit of composure then we will be a match for most teams.”
Lee Williamson was handed his Rovers debut in the centre of midfield, with Danny Murphy rested, while loan signing David Bentley was handed a second half cameo.
“It might have raised a few eyebrows signing Lee with some but he is a top, top player, can play many positions and I thought he was excellent,” said Appleton.
“David has fantastic quality and good feet and we will get him up to scratch and match fitness.
“He has not played for a while, “I had a feeling. I said to the staff on Friday night, I think they will all back me up, I had a really good feeling about the game.
“Kaz was trying to make sure that he got over the ball for the goal.
“He got his little bit of luck, it wasn’t his greatest finish but I’m sure one of the most crucial.
“It gives us lots of confidence but I don’t think there has been any problems in terms of belief.
“We just have to make sure we are able to switch our minds to the league now,.
“We had a few players who weren’t able to play, there is a nice mix and we have some big games coming up.”