Walking away from Malmo after back-to-back Swedish league titles may have come as something of a shock, not least given Jon Dahl Tomasson’s love for the game.

When Tomasson arrived at Malmo in 2020 they were without an Allsvenskan title for three seasons.

In 2020 they won a 21st top-flight title by finishing nine points clear at the top, and number 22 followed the next season, albeit much closer, seeing off the challenge of AIK on goal difference.

That saw Malmo twice qualify for the Champions League, but at the end of 2021 Tomasson announced his emotional goodbye from the club in pursuit of new challenges.

Given his success at the club, and the chance to win three successive titles for the first time in 60 years, it was a surprise to many when Tomasson took the decision.

A potential opportunity at Eredivisie club Heerenveen had been mooted, but Tomasson took advantage of the time at his disposal to gain extra knowledge of the games.

There were links to a potential move to the UK over the summer, with vacancies at QPR and Hibernian, before eventually taking the Rovers head coach role.

Rovers’ approach came just at the right time, with Tomasson having been in advanced talks with a European side, understood to be Swiss champions FC Zurich, while Legia Warsaw had also shown interest.

Malmo sit fifth 12 games into the new Swedish season under Tomasson’s successor Milos Milojevic.

Of his decision to leave the club, Tomasson said: “I made a choice to stop at Malmo and it came as a surprise to many people after two great seasons - winning the league, developing young players and getting into the Champions League.

“But I used the time to be with my family, travel around and get inspiration. When you love football like I do, six months of doing nothing is not good.

“So I travelled, getting inspiration from good colleagues, seeing training games, having a lot of chats and being in different countries.

“I always dreamed of coming back (to England).

“Now, it’s great to be here and you really feel the club, warm people, nice people, helpful people and that’s what you want.”

Tomasson’s Malmo scored 64 times in their 30 league games during his first season in charge, losing only four times as they cruised to the league title.

They hit 58 goals during his second season, and the head coach has talked up his desire to play an attacking brand of football.

Tomasson won’t be rigid in his system, but will look to instil his principles on the Rovers squad, and feels that will be helped by the week-long training camp in Portugal that they will return from on Sunday.

The Dane believes the pre-season will be crucial for that, with the first of five friendlies starting with the trip to Accrington Stanley on July 9.

“When I started at Malmo, they hadn’t won anything for three years and we won the league in an attacking way,” he added.

“I think we set a record for scoring goals, which is quite important if you want to win games. I want to play an intense game, with and without the ball and to be dominant.

“You look at the players you have, of course, but the good thing is that we have a lot of youngsters who have tried a lot, and can still develop. That is really, really important, because of course I want to change some things.

“The previous manager has done an excellent job and the club is stable in a way. We will be working hard from day one, I can promise the fans, to get things right.”


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