Santa Cruz happy at Blackburn

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The Independent Football

Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz has spoken of his affection for the club and insisted he never tried to engineer a move from Ewood Park.

The Paraguay international looked to be on his way to Manchester City in the transfer window, linking up again with his former manager Mark Hughes.

But Blackburn continually blocked bids from their Barclays Premier League rivals and Santa Cruz will be staying put until the summer at least.

He is pleased he can now focus fully on helping the team climb the table, starting with the home game against Aston Villa tomorrow.

Santa Cruz said: "It was always going to be in Blackburn's hands, not mine and best for them to deal with the situation.

"That's how it should be when you sign a contract at a club and make a commitment to do your best every day.

"Of course I am happy here. I never really felt this is something I needed to do (move away).

"I love to play football with my friends and want to win a lot more games with Blackburn.

"They have given me a family and I will always be very thankful to the club for that.

"I have enjoyed every single moment here. I am a bit spoiled because people have always treated me very kindly here.

"I am happy things have settled down and I am able to work without people saying a lot of things.

"I can now focus on helping the team get points. The players may have got used to my situation but I tried to keep it as far away as possible from them."

Santa Cruz has been dogged by injury this season, scoring just three goals. His tally last season in the league was 19.

He is aiming for better luck in the remaining months of the campaign.

"I always put pressure on myself to play well, " said Santa Cruz. "I have not really been playing at my best and the challenge now is to add a few more goals to my game."

He refused to speculate on what might happen in the summer if Manchester City come calling again, adding: "It will not be just my call, as I have stated previously.

"There would have to be an agreement with Blackburn. If they say it is okay, then I will decide what I want."

Even though Blackburn have gone nine matches undefeated since Sam Allardyce replaced Paul Ince, they remain locked in a relegation battle.

However Allardyce detects a return of the feel-good factor to the dressing room.

He said: "Being undefeated helps build confidence and make the players feel better. I certainly do not fear anyone.

"We will need the right kind of mentality against Aston Villa as this will be my biggest test since coming here.

"They seem to be more suited for playing better away from home and we will have to be tactically right.

"Somewhere along the line draws are not going to be enough given the position we are in. We have to get wins at home and that means converting chances into goals as our ratio is too low."