EFL

Ian Foster says Plymouth dominated their draw at Blackburn

By Sports Desk March 09, 2024

Plymouth head coach Ian Foster felt his side ‘dominated from start to finish’ in their 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw at 10-man Blackburn.

Rovers’ Sammie Szmodics took his league goal tally to 21 with a sublime curling opener in the seventh minute but the home side were second best thereafter.

Their task was made harder when Kyle McFadzean was sent off for a professional foul early in the second half and Plymouth deservedly equalised through Morgan Whittaker’s close range 74th-minute finish, taking his own league tally to 18.

The goals and dismissal barely tell the story. Despite Arnor Sigurdsson striking the post in the first half, it was Argyle who created the best chances with Ryan Hardie and Bali Mumba both missing when one-on-one, while Mickel Miller and Hardie again both went agonisingly close.

Foster felt the point was “the very least we deserved” although it is now just one win in seven matches for the Pilgrims, who are three points clear of danger.

He said: “A lot of people will look at the game, see the result, see the sending off and think we’ve only scored because they’ve been reduced to 10 men.

“Before their goal and after their goal, we’ve dominated the game, literally from start to finish.

“The whole 95 minutes we’ve been the team on top – 20 shots away from home, our xG is through the roof and the only disappointment that we go away with is that we haven’t converted all those chances, or some of them.

“I’m really proud of the players. We picked the team today to dominate the ball. We felt that we could here and we did that – 66 per cent I think in the first half.

“I’ve never witnessed a team 1-0 up at half-time getting booed off. (It’s a) quite unique thing to see and hear but that just shows you the dominance we had in the first 45 minutes.

“No halves are ever the same but the players continued to knock on the door and we eventually got what we deserved.

“We’re all that little bit disappointed to come away with just the one point.”

Blackburn remain level on points with Plymouth and are yet to win under John Eustace, who praised his team’s character after playing more than half an hour with 10 men.

Eustace said: “I thought we started the game really well, played some really good football, scored a fantastic goal, had a great chance to go 2-0 up which we didn’t take unfortunately.

“Plymouth then had a couple of good chances themselves. We came in at half-time, adjusted a couple of things, started the second half quite well and obviously going down to 10 men, it’s a different game.

“I thought the character the group showed, the togetherness, the fight not to lose the game was very evident for everyone to see.

“I think the way the boys defended, fought, scrapped, and stuck together against a good attacking team and limited them to hardly anything really second half – they had pressure but no real clear-cut chances, maybe one. But we still had a couple of half-chances ourselves.

“The big positives to take out of the game…the way the group really stuck together and fought. You can see the fight is there that we want to stay in this league.”

Related items

  • Nagelsmann urges Germany to beat pressure of being Euro 2024 hosts Nagelsmann urges Germany to beat pressure of being Euro 2024 hosts

    Julian Nagelsmann is confident his side can beat the pressure of being the host nation as they prepare to kick off the tournament against Scotland on Friday.

    The 36-year-old is taking charge of his first major tournament with Germany after taking over from Hansi Flick in September and has lost just one of his eight games since taking over.

    Germany have struggled in recent major tournaments, getting knocked out of Euro 2020 in the round of 16 before crashing out of the 2022 World Cup in the group stages.

    However, Die Mannschaft are aiming to end that run, chasing a fourth European title and their first since 1996, with Nagelsmann confident his team can channel their nervous energy into positive performances.

    "I think we're a bit nervous, but it's an important point, we have to have a certain nervousness," he said. "There was such a buzz [in the camp], a bit like in school. It was really loud: 'Can everyone please calm down a bit!'.

    "I look in our players' eyes and see the belief and will to win. I want us to believe in ourselves: we have great players, good togetherness, home advantage, we've had great training sessions and a good mentality.

    "We have everything: we just have to show it tomorrow, and that's why belief is very important.

    "We can beat pressure, and we can beat Scotland as well."

    Scotland arrive as heavy outsiders and are making just their fourth appearance at the Euros compared to Germany's record 14.

    The Tartan Army qualified second in their group after a strong opening to their campaign, and Nagelsmann praised their performances under Steve Clark.

    "They don't have world stars, but that makes them very dangerous," he added. "They work very hard and have a classic mentality, but it's not a kick and rush team. They can do that, but they can play football.

    "We will have more pressure on us than Scotland, and they will want to capitalise on that."

  • Orlando City v Los Angeles FC: Pareja seeking injection of confidence Orlando City v Los Angeles FC: Pareja seeking injection of confidence

    Oscar Pareja believes it is important for Orlando City to rediscover their self-confidence ahead of Saturday's clash with in-form Los Angeles FC at Inter&Co Stadium.

    The international break means Orlando have been out of action since a 1-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls on June 2, their third straight game without a victory.

    While they sit a lowly 11th in the Eastern Conference standings with 17 points, LAFC are second in the West with 30 points after winning five in a row in MLS play.

    Asked about the value of having time off to reflect on their poor run, Pareja said: "It's important, because with the work we do, the intensity of how we do things is important.

    "We are optimistic after having a refresh when we needed it."

    On the challenge of facing LAFC, the Orlando coach added: "Many teams have challenges with players being away. We are professionals, we expect a team that is playing well.

    "But at the same time, it's a great opportunity for us to play well and raise our confidence, to get the points we need right now." 

    In all competitions, LAFC have won their last six matches without conceding, becoming the first team from MLS to ever accomplish that feat.

    Head coach Steve Cherundolo believes that achievement is the result of a team effort, saying: "I think the team is playing a mature, professional, complete 90 minutes.

    "Some teams have better defensive solutions against us so we don't have quite as many chances, but in every game we are creating chances and we are not giving up many chances.

    "Our collective defending is very good. You're seeing it all come together."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH 

    Orlando City – Nicolas Lodeiro 

    Lodeiro has been involved in nine goals in MLS play against Los Angeles (five goals, four assists, including playoffs). 

    Only Cristian Espinoza (15) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (11) have been involved in more versus them.

    Los Angeles FC – Denis Bouanga 

    Bouanga scored LAFC's goal in their 1-0 win over FC Dallas last time out on June 1. 

    The goal was Bouanga's 48th in all competitions since the start of last season, 16 more than any other MLS player in that time.

    MATCH PREDICTION – LOS ANGELES FC WIN

    LAFC are unbeaten in four all-time meetings with Orlando (two wins, two draws), though the Lions did eliminate them on penalties from the quarter-finals of MLS is Back in 2020.

    Orlando are winless in their last five home matches, drawing two and losing three while failing to net in each of their last three – they had only previously gone three home matches without netting in their second, third and fourth home MLS games back in 2015.

    LAFC, meanwhile, have won seven successive matches in all competitions, the last six of them to nil. They will fancy their chances of victory, even without home advantage.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Orlando City – 37.7%

    Los Angeles FC – 35.9%  

    Draw – 26.4%

  • Ito becomes first signing for Kompany at Bayern Ito becomes first signing for Kompany at Bayern

    Bayern Munich have announced the signing of Hiroki Ito from Stuttgart.

    The defender becomes the first signing under new head coach Vincent Kompany, signing a four-year contract to keep him at the club until 2028.

    Ito joined Stuttgart in 2021, on an initial loan from Japanese side Jubilo Iwata, before making the move permanent the following year.

    He made 97 appearances for Stuttgart in all competitions, including 29 in 2023-24, as he helped the club to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga and Champions League qualification.

    "It's a great honour for me to be able to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world," Ito told the club website.

    "Bayern is also a big name in Japan. I always gave my all for Stuttgart and am grateful to the club. Now I'm looking forward to the challenge in Munich and I want to play my part in FC Bayern winning lots of trophies.

    "It was time to take a new step, and for me, Bayern is the perfect club to do so."

    Bayern finished below Stuttgart in the Bundesliga last season in third, ending their run of 11 consecutive league titles, while falling at the semi-final hurdle in the Champions League.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.