Billy Barr called in to question his side’s game management after defeat in the Premier League International Cup.

Barr acknowledged Rovers were beaten by the better side at Ewood Park as Hertha Berlin left 2-0 winners.

Two goals in the final 12 minutes from Panzu Ernesto and substitute Timur Gayet handed the German side the points, with Rovers failing to live with the visitors’ increased intensity after the break.

The young Rovers side dominated the opening 45 minutes, with Joe Rankin-Costello and Ben Paton going close.

But it was a different story in the second half, as while Rovers struggled to find any fluency going forward, Hertha’s movement off the ball proved decisive.

“We were beaten by the better team on the night,” Barr reflected.

“I’m happy with elements of the first half when we did finally get to grips with the game and how we counteracted how we said they would play, though maybe not as much as we would have liked.

“We did have the better chances in the first half. Take them and it’s a different game.

“The second half we huffed and puffed but didn’t really get anything flowing.

“You sensed their goal was coming and we’ve spoken about managing moments in games in the dressing room.

“When you’re under the cosh do you need to hit it long? No, get us up, play us out and have a breather by taking charge of the ball. They’re learning.

“We got what we deserved in the second half. On the night their group was better than our group.”

Rovers made two changes from the side that had beaten Middlesbrough in the Premier League Cup seven days earlier, with Lewis Thompson away on international duty with Northern Ireland Under-21s, and Ben Brereton playing in a behind closed doors game to build his fitness, rather than feature for the Under-23s again.

Barr’s side weren’t their usual selves though, uncharacteristically lacking any purpose going forward despite dominating the early stages.

The second half was something of a damp squib for Rovers, with Barr adding: “They were better on the ball, moved it around and depleted our energy.

“They are things we like to do the opposition. I felt their movement off the ball to support each other was far better than ours.”

The game was Rovers’ first foray in to the competition that is in to its sixth season.

Hertha moved joint top of the group with Benfica who they were beaten by in the only group game to have been played prior to Friday night.

Rovers’ task now will be to win their remaining two group games, with the six group winners, and two best runners-up, qualifying for the quarter-finals.

They host Benfica at Leyland on November 25 and travel to Newcastle in December to round off the group stages.

“The Benfica game I expect will be similar to this one,” Barr explained.

“Hertha lost their opening game so who’s to say we can’t do the same? If we win the two games then I think we’ll probably qualify.”

The Under-23s are battling on four fronts this season, sitting eighth in Premier League 2, top of their Premier League Cup group and in to the last four of the Lancashire Senior Cup, as well as the International Cup.

On whether there were noticeable differences about the competition, Barr said: “Definitely, you’re coming up against a foreign team.

“They brought a vocal support with them, which was great, and it was a different challenge for us. But the lads have to work it out. It can’t always be done by a coach. That’s the learning.

“They play differently, definitely. Can we take parts of their game into ours? We’ll look into that, and try, but ultimately it’s 11 v 11 when you put them out there.

“I think our lot will be disappointed with big parts of the game.”

Next up for Rovers is a return to league action against Manchester City on Friday at Leyland (7pm) before the Benfica fixture.