Rafa Can Expect 'Same Again' At Ewood

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It is safe to say the two managers didn't quite agree on Blackburn Rovers' set piece tactics in Saturday's FA Cup tie at SJP.

But, as sure as God made little apples ... Rovers will do the same at Ewood Park.

Rafa Benitez wanted a foul on goalkeeper Freddie Woodman at every opportunity, while Tony Mowbray praised the quality of Charlie Mulgrew’s delivery.

Rovers looked a constant threat from right wing corners in particular, with Mulgrew, fresh from scoring against West Brom on New Year’s Day, whipping in some excellent deliveries with his left foot.

He almost did it again, and taken his tally of goals direct from corners this season to three, when late in the first half a delivery evaded everyone, including the far post, with a number of players ending up in a heap in the goalmouth.

Feeling his young goalkeeper needed more protection, with VAR in use for the game, Benitez said in his post-match press conference: “There's a FIFA rule about the six-yard box and the keepers, but sometimes they forget about this rule.

“It's not Wimbledon of the past – I was in Spain and we were watching these kinds of games – it's not Bolton, who were doing the same.

“You have to protect the keeper, that's it.

“The referee knows that. In the second half, the approach was different.

“I think sometimes we forget the rules when the ball goes into the six-yard box.

“We had to protect him in the second half.”

While going close in the first half direct from a corner, Rovers almost scored from a left wing Craig Conway corner in the second half. Darragh Lenihan beat Woodman to the ball, only for Mulgrew’s effort to be cleared off the line by Javi Manquillo.

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Seeing things different to counterpart Benitez, Mowbray praised the quality of the delivery.

“Mulgrew practices set plays every day, generally shooting at goal,” he said.

“If you can bend it in to the top and corner like he can, then why not shoot from a corner?

“If we can get people across the front of the goalkeeper, they don’t need to make contact, or foul the goalkeeper, but run across the front and if you can get a touch then it will fly in.

“And if you miss it, then it might fly straight in.

“It’s no surprise to us with Charlie, he scored 14 last season and has already scored eight this season, and they will be a danger to every team.”