It has been a whirlwind month for John Eustace as Saturday marked a month in charge of Blackburn Rovers.

The head coach has been thrown eight official matches in that time, discounting Stoke City, with seven in the Championship and one FA Cup epic against Newcastle United.

Eustace is still waiting for his first win, with five points coming from his seven in charge, all draws. Rovers had taken two points from their previous seven Championship matches under Jon Dahl Tomasson.

This is the first free week Eustace has been afforded on the training ground with the squad stretched to its limit. The players will get valuable time to rest, recover and work closely with their new head coach to take on board his ideas.

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There has been a clear shift in style over the last month but how does the eye test compare with the numbers and what have we learned? The Lancashire Telegraph takes a look.

Defensive improvement

There is no doubt that Rovers have improved defensively since Eustace took over. That was his first priority after inheriting the second-leakiest backline in the division.

A shift to a back five and the introduction of Kyle McFadzean has provided more solidity and experience. They've conceded nine goals in Eustace's eight matches, compared to 18 in that same time period under Tomasson.

Looking at the numbers more deeply, the big difference has been the number of defensive duels that Rovers have won. Under Eustace, that number stands at 55.4 against 43.75 beforehand. Quite simply, they are winning the ball back better across the pitch.

Interestingly, Rovers haven't seen a massive reduction in the shots they're conceding on target, 43 vs 40, but the expected goals (xG), which is a proxy of the quality of a chance, of those efforts have reduced. That means they are limiting their opponents to a lower quality of chance, per shot.

Statistically, Rovers are pressing less under Eustace, though not by much. Passes per defensive action is a statistic which measures how many passes the opposition makes before you 'stick a foot in', in laymen's terms.

Under Eustace, that number stands at an average of 11.9 against 9.1 in Tomasson's last eight. So Rovers are slightly less intense at winning back the ball.

Work to do in attack

The defensive side of Rovers' game has improved but the offensive output has definitely trailed off. Rovers have created a total of 6.97 xG in their eight games whereas under Tomasson, it was far higher at 11.67.

Rovers are having far fewer touches in the opposition box. On average, the last eight games have seen them touch the ball 20.1 times in their opponent's box, versus 35.3 in the same time under the previous head coach. 

The shift to shore up the defence has come at a cost. Rovers are also attacking with a player less after going from 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-3.

A complete shift in style

On the ball, the metrics back up what our eyes are telling us. Rovers are far less possession-heavy and are happier to play more direct.

The number of deep completed passes they've played has halved (51 vs 126), their successful passes forward have reduced (743 vs 1306) and the average length of each pass has increased (161.2 vs 145). 

Those numbers tell us exactly what we have seen. A clear shift in priority with and without the ball in attack and defence. 

Improving the intangibles

Another improvement under Eustace has been the 'intangibles' which Rovers fans felt were an Achilles heel under Tomasson.

Under the new regime, Rovers have only conceded once in the final 15 minutes of matches, which came against Birmingham in the first game. They only did that once in Tomasson's last eight too but had conceded 18 before then across the course of the season, by far the worst in the division.

Tomasson's always put that down to the average age of the team. Eustace has put more experience in with the likes of McFadzean and the return of Ryan Hedges.

Rovers are conceding fewer goals from aerial crosses into the box too. Including set-pieces (first and second phase), floated crosses and throw-ins, they have tightened up four to nine in the eight-game periods. 

The team have also taken points/results with goals from losing positions in three matches, against Norwich, Newcastle and Millwall. That was another issue across the course of Tomasson's reign.

Overall, it's pretty clear Rovers need to improve in attack. Defensively, they are more solid, with the formation and injection of more experienced players helping to shore them up.

With a free week before Middlesbrough and the international break, that will be the priority for Eustace.