Sir Bobby on Blackburn

Last updated : 20 October 2002 By Martyn Elliott

"We did remarkably well to get back to 2-2 considering we knew we had to play for 80-odd minutes with a man short," Sir Bobby told

"For the last 20 minutes of the first half and the first 20 minutes of the second I thought there was only one team in it. At that stage I felt we’d get a point, or maybe even all three – who knows?" was Sir Bobby’s optimistic view on proceedings.

He also felt that the referee played a crucial part in the defeat, but not because of Nikos’ sending off.

"He had no choice, it was a handball, an obvious decision and Nikos had to go. I’ve no crib about that incident," he said of referee Wiley’s decision.

"Sometimes that’s the way it goes, it’s cruel. Shay has dropped the cross, and to be fair to him he’s come in at half time and held his hands up.

"Yorke has wriggled his way round the defence to get the shot in and Dabi has done the instinctive thing and stopped the ball going in the net.

"The turning point has come when their outside right (Gillespie) shoved Andy Griffin near the corner flag. Instead of awarding us a free kick, as he should have done, he gives them a corner and they go 3-2 up from that.

"It’s turned the game, especially after we quietened the crowd down and rattled the team. After that they’ve gone on and scored another two goals, and while they probably deserved the points overall I think the score line suggests w,e had a battering and that was never the case," Robson added.

In reality we were on the end of a good beating from Blackburn and only really Shearer and Gary Speed can take much credit from the performance, but Sir Bobby is rightly not going to criticise the players in public after one poor performance.

So its Juventus next, without the suspended Bellamy and Dabizas, and the Turin side won’t exactly have been quaking in their boots.

But its after a performance like this that the real character of the team will be shown, so we can expect immense performances from Shearer, Speed, Hughes Given and Solano on Wednesday and we’ll also see if our talented youngsters have what it takes to compete at the top level.

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