PAUL Lambert believes the unity shown by supporters and players during the Deepdale derby victory is going to be key to the success he aims to bring to Blackburn Rovers.

Lambert kicked off his Ewood Park reign with a 2-1 triumph at Preston North End on Saturday and immediately paid tribute to those on the pitch and those in the stand.

Rovers showed steel to grind out a hard-fought win which extended their unbeaten run to four matches and which leaves them eight points behind the play-off places.

And they were backed all the way by the 5,486 fans who made the 13.5-mile trip across Lancashire for their new manager’s first game in charge.

“This football club has had a wee bit of a hard time over the last few years and they deserved that,” said Lambert, whose first home match since taking over as Rovers boss takes place this Saturday when Sheffield Wednesday arrive in town.


“The players deserved it back as well and I think the fans deserved the players to turn in a performance and a work ethic and a desire to win a game.

“This game is about players and the fans and people who come and watch you – and I thought the two of them were outstanding.

“Without the fans you would not have the same atmosphere. They were excellent and a credit to the football club.

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“And if they can get behind them that way, and I’m pretty sure come next Saturday they will come out in their numbers.”

The victory strengthened the sense of optimism that has surged through the Rovers fan base since the new managerial appointment.

“You don’t want to temper any expectations but there will be times when you don’t get a performance or don’t get a result, but the signs are there,” said Lambert, who has not ruled out adding to his squad before Thursday’s emergency loan window deadline.

“It’s early doors and it’s a group of lads where probably mediocre has been accepted at the football club and, as I said the other day, if you accept mediocre, that’s what you’re going to get.

“As long as you always try, and thrive on trying to achieve something, then you’re never critical of anybody.

“What have I have learned about my players today? That they have got the desire and a work ethic.  That’s the standard they’ve set. So it’s there.”

It was Lambert’s first match back on the touchline after losing his job at Aston Villa in February.

And the former Norwich City boss said: “After nine months out, for the first time in 40 years I was enjoying my life.

“But I’m back into the madness now and back in that hotseat of the adrenaline rush, the ups and down, and the highs and the lows.

“But it’s great to be back, especially when you have support like that.  If we can get the supporters believing in what we’re trying to do, and they stick with the team through the hard times as well, which I’m sure they will, then let’s see what happens.”