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Luongo: It'll Be a Lot Different to Last Time We Played Blackburn
Wednesday, 27th Mar 2024 20:04

The last time Town and Blackburn met in a league game, back in September last year at Portman Road, the game ended 4-3 with Massimo Luongo netting the winner, one of only two goals the Aussie has scored in his 35 Championship appearances this season.

After being reminded about the occasion six months ago, Luongo grinned: “Yes, they come out every now and again. That was a good game and around that period we were winning and scoring a few goals in home games.

“It just sums us up at Portman Road – if you want to watch exciting football then it’s the place to be, whether it goes our way or not.

“We want to play positive football and at the time they were looking to be an attacking team as well. Lewis Travis was there, played in the game and will tell you they had lots of numbers in the frontline.

“They were a little bit vulnerable defensively but they managed to score three goals at Portman Road. I think we can expect a different type of Blackburn this time but they still carry the same threats.

“I think it will be a lot different to the last time we played them and won 4-3. They have a different manager in John Eustace and he’s someone I know quite well [Eustace was assistant manager at QPR during Luongo’s time at Loftus Road].

“I know how he handles the changing room and how he motivates his players and I think they will be right up for it. He will have a plan and they’re at home.

“I don’t know, tactically, what they are going to do but I’m expecting it to be a tough game.”

Luongo was asked if he and his colleagues tried to play down the importance of what promotion rivals Leeds, Leicester and Southampton achieve in their remaining games.

He responded: “We always look at each game individually and we can’t afford to let the occasions get the better of us.

“Easter weekend is always a big weekend in the season, so that’s one big hurdle we need to get through. Two big games and then, looking forward, they are all really big games. We know where we are and we know what we have to do.

“We have to remind ourselves that three points is three points and each game is an opportunity to get three points. We’ll be trying to win the first one at Blackburn on Friday and then worry about the next one when it comes.”

When asked if the Town players were spending time looking at their promotion rivals’ forthcoming fixtures, he added: “No, no, no. We worry about ourselves, although it’s hard not to see what else is happening if you switch Sky Sports on.

“Obviously, we know where everyone is and what we need, but it’s easy to look when you’re winning, for sure. If we don’t win at the weekend, though, we kind of don’t want to know. We’ll just play each match as it comes.”

Reflecting on Town’s 6-0 trouncing of former club Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road last time out, which sees them sitting third in the table, only one point drift of the top two, Leeds and Leicester, the Sydney-born player continued: “I don’t know if it was our best of the season but I think the fact that it came after a loss at Cardiff was a really good positive.

“Bouncing back from that defeat, sticking to our ways and keeping the belief, it showed that we are big enough to get over a loss quickly and not let it faze us too much.

“This time last year we were neck and neck with Wednesday and where we are now just shows how far we have come as a club. Looking back, we certainly have come a long way and it’s good to see that in the result and how we played.”

The Blues now find themselves in a similar promotion battle to last season when they finished second to League One champions Plymouth Argyle and Luongo agrees that the experience gained from the events of 12 months ago will help him and his colleagues this time round.

He said: “Yes, I think so. We have spoken about it briefly and a lot of the people in the building have that experience in some way over their careers. What I remember from the last 12 or 13 games last season is how the games came around so quickly, one after the other.

“We enjoyed it, we enjoyed the occasion and we enjoyed being up there. Believe me, I’ve been at the other end of the table and the top end is much better. You can really play with a smile on your face.

“But it doesn’t necessarily always go your way and it’s probably the hope that can make it hurt a little bit more.

“We’re a good team at getting over it and just worry about the next game – that’s pretty much what last year’s experience taught us, just to take one game at a time and try to bring our best levels to whatever is coming next.

“It’s similar to what was happening a year or so ago. We’ve had new players come in and they have made a big impact and there’s three teams up there. But we’re the same; we just go on from one day to the next with the same routine to train hard.

“The schedule’s a bit different because of the timings for games that are on Sky but the boys are quite cool, calm and relaxed. We know we’ve done well, in fact incredibly well, but we’re just carrying on as we always have.”

Asked if the knowledge of having played well to earn their current lofty status helps to take the pressure off, Luongo replied: “I think it’s the manager and the staff who take the pressure off a lot. The way things are, we don’t rely on one person or a few people to have an unbelievable game.

“It would be lovely if someone could win us a game but we’re a very structured team. Every game, we try to do the same things. We play out from the back but we can also kick it up the pitch as well and after that we can go back to playing out from the back.”

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SmithersJones added 20:20 - Mar 27
It’s a good point he makes about the schedule being disrupted for Sky. From what I can see (assuming the games on 27 April get moved for Sky) we don’t play at the same time as Leeds and Leicester until the last game of the season.

pennblue added 21:30 - Mar 27
If Mass can take his form from the last match into the remaining fixtures it gives us every chance. When him and morsy are on it we are pretty formiddable

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