Sam relishing start of new era
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce is feeling excited for the future after seeing his players beat Aston Villa 2-0 in front of the club's new owners.
Rovers, playing for the first time since being taken over by Indian company Venky's, beat Villa 2-0 at Ewood Park thanks to goals in either half from Morten Gamst Pedersen.
They were watched by Venkateshwara and Balaji Rao, the directors of Venky's, who came on to the pitch to greet the home supporters before kick-off.
Prior to their £23million takeover being completed on Friday, the Venky's hierarchy had witnessed Rovers being defeated 2-1 by Chelsea and 4-2 at Tottenham, and Allardyce was pleased now the purchase had been finalised that his side could make it a winning start to the new era.
"I've met the new owners for the third time, only briefly," Allardyce said.
"I think it was fair to say they were well entertained here by the match against Chelsea, when they came here for the first time before they had actually clinched the deal.
"Last week they watched the Tottenham game and we were well beaten in the end, but now they have seen us win for the first time.
"Hopefully, like every Blackburn fan, the players and myself, they will be very happy with the way we have won today and the performance that was given.
"I hope the next time we get to meet, which I am looking forward to, we can plan the way forward from here on in."
Venky's spoke of modest targets after Blackburn announced they were in discussions with them last month and Allardyce accepts he will have to spend any transfer funds wisely - although the manager is hoping the takeover will help him make sure Rovers' best players do not leave the club.
"What is important is to talk about the future, the short-term and the long-term - what the owners have in their mind, and me expressing my desire from a football point of view about how I think we should progress," Allardyce said.
"I will be very interested and look forward to working with them closely in helping this football club to be more successful under their leadership.
"I am excited - I would think a new owner of a club would only want to take it forward.
"This club has had to live off it's own steam recently and all it has done in the last three years or so is sell its major assets.
"I think if we can stop that first and then progress to adding to those major assets, then the club grows."
Pedersen opened the scoring in stoppage time at the end of the first half by looping a free-kick into the net, and struck again in the 66th minute, getting a foot to Ryan Nelsen's drive and diverting it home.
The Norway midfielder then had to be substituted after sustaining an injury which Allardyce indicated did not appear to be a major problem.
"We picked up another injury to Morten which we don't think is too serious and Gael Givet was ill at half-time (and also came off)," Allardyce said.
"But the lads who came on did a good job. Overall, we have more than deserved this victory."
Villa boss Gerard Houllier was disappointed his team had not dealt with the corner that led to Pedersen's second goal, but felt the defeat owed more to his players' inability to make the most of their opportunities to score.
"I don't think we gave a fair account of ourselves," Houllier said.
"We had a couple of chances in the first half and when you are away from home, you need to take those chances - otherwise you can be punished.
"We then conceded a goal probably at the worst moment in the game, in (first-half) added time.
"It puts you in a different position because you know they are then going to play deeper and more defensive, and deny us space.
"The second goal was just a tactical mistake, so the difference between the two teams was a free-kick by Pedersen and a corner.
"We showed better initiative and passing afterwards and had we scored, maybe it would have changed the morale of the team - but of course we didn't."