New Blackburn Rovers boss John Eustace says the priority is points as he prepares to lead the club for the first time tomorrow night.
The 44-year-old was appointed shortly after Jon Dahl Tomasson’s exit from Ewood Park was confirmed, concluding several days of speculation. The Dane had made no secret of the fact that he had offered to leave the club last summer and it is thought that similar conversations took place after an administration error saw a late deal for Orlando City striker Duncan McGuire fall through.
Rumours that Eustace was set to be named as an immediate successor emerged early last week, with the former Watford midfielder having been out of work since his dismissal from Birmingham City in October. He watched from the stands as his new team ended their eight match winless streak in the Championship with a 3-1 victory over Stoke City.
It’s a result which eased the Lancashire outfit’s relegation fears, seeing them move seven points above Queens Park Rangers in 22nd. The new boss was unveiled to the media earlier today, where he claimed the opportunity to manage a club the size of Blackburn was too good to turn down:
“It’s great, it’s fantastic to be working at a club like Blackburn Rovers,” he said, via the Lancashire Telegraph. “It’s got fantastic history, as soon as the opportunity came I wanted to speak to them straight away. I am very excited about the challenge ahead.
“It’s a fantastic football club, some unbelievable managers have been here. They have been in the Premier League, won the Premier League and so to have the opportunity to manage here was a big ‘yes please’ from me.”
Eustace was impressed with Saturday’s performance and stated the priority was to now get more points on the board:
“Saturday’s game showed me a lot. I think the performance with the ball was very good. The second half was more difficult and they scrapped for the points.
“It showed we can do both sides. It showed me that the fans are a great group who can be the 12th man. In difficult moments they can help this group of players get through.
“I’m at a fantastic club, I know I’ve made the right choice and I want to help them move up the table.
“The priority is to pick up points, we’re in a difficult moment but we picked up three great points on Saturday.”
Ironically, former club Birmingham will provide the opposition tomorrow night, with Eustace returning to St Andrew’s just four months after his shock exit. He left the Blues in sixth place, although the now infamous decline under Wayne Rooney has seen them fighting for their lives at the bottom end of the table. As such, their ex-gaffer doesn’t feel he has a point to prove:
“It’s just another game for me, I had a fantastic time at Birmingham.
“I had a brilliant 15 months there, lovely club, great people to work with. A fantastic squad of players, it is what it is.
“We have a Championship game against a very good team, with a good manager. It’s one we are all looking forward to.
“We grew a good culture at the football club, the fans saw a good commitment from the players. They bought into what we wanted to do so I’m sure I’ll get a decent reception.
“I don’t have a point to prove at all. 15 great months and we left the club in a very good position.”
Blackburn Rovers may have struck gold with John Eustace. He did an excellent job at Birmingham and there has been no shortage of offers from a number of Championship clubs over the past few months.
This season represents a great opportunity to steady the ship, and he will already be setting himself high ambitions for the next campaign. It’s been over a decade since they last occupied a place in the top tier. For a team that has won the same amount of Premier League titles as Liverpool, that is unacceptable.