Football: Miserable Blackburn

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Wednesday 3 Blackburn Rovers 0

FEW MANAGERS have more experience of international football than Blackburn's Roy Hodgson, and he will need to draw on all of it to restore the confidence of his side in time for tomorrow's Uefa Cup tie against Lyons.

"The mood in the dressing room is pretty miserable," he said. That was not surprising. Blackburn's performance was even more miserable than the result suggests.

"We didn't do very well individually and we were well beaten," Hodgson said. "Perhaps it was an off day or perhaps we just met a very good Sheffield Wednesday.

"We have to make certain today becomes history very quickly. The players have to start believing in themselves again."

That will be a tall order given that only one clear-cut chance came their way - and that after Juan Cobian gave the ball away to Kevin Davies.

With only the goalkeeper to beat the young striker, back home in Sheffield with a pounds 7.25m reputation to live up to, shot straight at Kevin Pressman.

It was the nearest Blackburn came to salvaging anything from a match Wednesday would have won by a much wider margin but for their usual failing - the inability to put away their chances.

Their forwards fluffed so many easy ones that in the end a midfielder and a defender had to demonstrate the art of goal-scoring the spectacular way.

Peter Atherton was first up with a cracking volley from the edge of the box after Blackburn's wobbly post-Hendry defence failed to clear Paolo di Canio's cross.

Andy Hinchcliffe was next, curling in a 25-yard free kick after a typical weaving run by Di Canio was ended by a Tim Sherwood tackle which was vigorous but looked perfectly fair.

With Wim Jonk and Petter Rudi outstanding in midfield and Di Canio and his compatriot Benito Carbone running rings round Blackburn's defenders, Wednesday continued to squander chances at regular intervals until the Italians combined three minutes from the end to make the scoreline a fairer reflection of Wednesday's dominance .

The Wednesday manager, Danny Wilson, said: "Our performance in the first half was our best of the season."

He ought not to get carried away. It may be a long time before they meet another side as poor as Blackburn were.

Goals: Atherton (18) 1-0; Hinchcliffe (33) 2-0; Di Canio (87) 3-0.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Cobian (Barrett, 70), Emerson, Walker, Hinchcliffe; Rudi, Jonk, Carbone, Atherton; Booth, Di Canio (Sanetti, 88). Substitutes not used: Clarke (gk), Whittingham, Hyde.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Flowers; Kenna, Henchoz, Peacock, Croft; Dailly, Sherwood, McKinlay, Duff (Wilcox, 61); Sutton, Davies. Substitutes not used: Filan (gk), Flitcroft, Andersson, Johnson.

Bookings: Sheffield Wednesday: Carbone. Blackburn: Davies, Sherwood, Sutton, Croft.

Referee: A Wilkie (Chester-le-Street).

Attendance: 20,846.

Man of the match: Jonk.