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Chaplin: You Need to Win This Way Sometimes
Saturday, 30th Mar 2024 09:34 by Kallum Brisset

Town forward Conor Chaplin says the Blues showed a different string to their bow as they earned an eighth win in nine matches following a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Chaplin’s ninth-minute goal proved the difference on Good Friday as the Blues returned to the top of the Championship following Leicester City’s defeat at Bristol City earlier in the day. Later, Leeds drawing 2-2 at Watford confirmed they ended the day in pole position for the first time since December.

While Rovers saw three goals disallowed by the officials for a combination of offsides and a foul, Chaplin argued the Blues should have been awarded a penalty in the opening stages when Nathan Broadhead had his shirt pulled by Callum Brittain.

“It was tough, we found it really hard,” Chaplin said. “The second half probably wasn’t a vintage performance by any means, but I thought in the first half we were good.

“In build-up we were good, in first and second phases we were really good but we were a little bit wasteful in the final third.

“I know they had a couple of goals disallowed but rightly so disallowed, we could have been a little bit more comfortable at half-time if we had been a bit more clinical.

“We didn’t have loads of good chances, I had a couple on my left foot I felt I should have done better.

“It’s a penalty on Broady, it’s a stonewall penalty. But away from home in the Championship you’ve got to find a way to win and we’ve done that throughout the whole season. It puts us in good stead to keep doing that.

“It’s not going to be free-flowing football all the time, sometimes you’re going to have to defend your box really well.

“I don’t think we stayed aggressive enough in terms of staying high, I think we sagged a little bit too much for how we’d like. But it’s a clean sheet and you need to be happy with it.

“You need to win this way sometimes throughout the season, especially away from home, and we showed that today.

“I pride myself on helping the team however that is, whether it be scoring the winner or last-ditch tackles. I’ll run for this team and for these boys until I can’t anymore.

“All the boys are like that, it’s not just me, and that’s a big reason why we’ve been successful.”

The Blues were beaten in their previous away outing, when Cardiff City struck twice in stoppage time to claim a 2-1 victory over Town in south Wales, a game which Chaplin says the squad have learnt from.

“From set pieces we should have and could have done better,” he said. “But it’s about learning from that. But it’s probably different, that was moments from set pieces.

“We had set pieces today which could have turned into moments and we defended really well.”

Chaplin’s goal took his tally to 13 for the season, making him Town’s top scorer so far this campaign.

While that figure is one Chaplin is content with, he feels Brendan Galloway’s own goal at Plymouth Argyle was wrongly taken away from him when his shot deflected off the Pilgrims defender.

He argued: “Really it should be 14. The Plymouth one should have been given to me which I’m still really annoyed about so if the EFL listen to this, I don’t know how they’ve not given it to me.

“It should be 14, but its 13 and I need to get some more before the end of the season.

“To do well and have a big impact for the team is always my main target. It’s all about the next goal now and next performance.”

Leif Davis claimed his 15th assist of the season, breaking the seasonal record for the most by a Championship defender, previously held by Barry Douglas and Kieran Trippier.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Chaplin said of the record. “I don’t need to speak too much about Leif as I’ve said it a lot.

“I don’t know what the record is for someone assisting someone else so much in a season but it’s going to be close for me, I owe him a lot. He’s been massive for me and we’ve got a really good relationship.”

Chaplin returned to the starting XI at Ewood Park after missing the thrashing against Sheffield Wednesday before the international break with a back strain, a problem he says has been put behind him.

“I feel great, really good,” he said. “It probably took a little bit longer to get my second wind today because I haven’t played or trained a lot in the last two weeks as I had done, but I feel really fresh.

“I had a break because of a slight injury so I’ve had a little bit of time off, which has helped me in terms of freshness.

“It was just the lungs today that took a bit of time to get going, but you always take a game to get back to automatic 90 minutes and now that one’s out the way I feel really good.”

The Blues now have seven games left of the season and have already accrued 84 points from their 39 games so far. Chaplin says the mantra in the squad make it easy to take each game as it comes, stressing that the experience of last season’s promotion battle gives Town an advantage.

The 27-year-old said: “It’s really easy and I’m not just saying it. With the manager, the staff, the culture within the football club and the dressing room it’s easy. It’s just about the next game.

“It doesn’t come into the dressing room, honestly. We’re used to this last season where everyone said every game was must-win and it’s the same this season. It doesn’t come into the conversation in the dressing room, it’s just about the next game and the next performance.

“Every game is going to be different, you see the Sheffield Wednesday game compared to this game and they’re two different wins. It’s going to be like that for the last seven games.

“It’s something that we do the whole season and that’s a culture thing from the manager and the leaders in the dressing room.”

Town were backed by 4,233 travelling supporters in Lancashire, with Chaplin highlighting the importance of the Blue Army getting excited by the ride.

“It’s brilliant for them and that’s how it should be,” he said. “It means so much to us and so much to the fans, they need to enjoy it and get carried away as that’s their job.

“We feel their support massively, they helped us today tremendously in the last few moments when the board goes up for five minutes and they’re cheering and getting behind the lads.

“It makes a big difference and we all need to be together, which we have been for the last two and a half years.”

Wes Burns is likely to miss the majority of the rest of the season with a hamstring injury sustained in the match with Sheffield Wednesday two weeks ago, preventing Burns from joining up with Wales on international duty.

“Gutted for him,” Chaplin said of the Welshman. “He was coming into good form and we’re really disappointed for him. But Wes will be back, he’s been massive around the place since the injury and he’s such a positive person.

“He can have a difference on the pitch once he’s back, but first and foremost in the dressing room and around the training ground.”

Kieffer Moore was involved for Wales in their Euro 2024 play-off final defeat to Poland on penalties on Tuesday, playing 120 minutes and scoring in the shootout before featuring for 60 minutes against Rovers.

Chaplin added: “It’s massive, but Kieffer’s a machine. He looks after himself so well and his professionalism is absolutely top. If anyone could have done it, it was Chief and I thought he was brilliant today.”

Attention now turns to a mouth-watering clash with Southampton at Portman Road on Monday, with Chaplin, a boyhood Portsmouth supporter, looking forward to the challenge.

“We’ve got a big game on Monday with Southampton,” he said. “They’re a top team with top players and another one we’ll look at tomorrow and plan for the game.

“They’re a really good team with a good manager and style of play, a philosophy they really believe in and they’ve got quality throughout the squad. It’s going to be another tough game.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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MK1 added 09:58 - Mar 30
Brilliant, just brilliant. What a day.

ArnieMsBigToe added 09:59 - Mar 30
Brilliant!! Town have now doubled 7 teams!! Wow!!. I don't think Conor realised the joke when he said he'd put his back injury behind him??

Ebantiass added 11:08 - Mar 30
Not very pretty but an away win in this league is not to be sniffed at. The first half i thought we were excellent, really dominating the game. The second half we knew they would throw everything at us and they did. As chappers said during a long hard season sometimes you have to go away from home and dig in to hold a lead or draw.
Very well played lads.

Gazelle added 11:42 - Mar 30
Every team who wins the league has a game like that.

ArnieM added 12:14 - Mar 30
3pts is 3pts Chappers , you’re so right. No prizes for pretty football at this stage of the season. Let’s do Saints too now.


Cambsrover14 added 14:12 - Mar 30
I went yesterday first half was Ipswich's 2nd half was ours I don't remember you getting into our half. Fair play to the 4000 fans who attended it's a treck for me getting to Ewood let alone from Ipswich. We deserved at least a point Stuart Attwell had a shocker he makes Gavin Ward look good.

Cambsrover14 added 14:16 - Mar 30
I was sat in the Riverside close to the Ipswich fans. I weren't part of the idiotic group in there though. Me, my partner and kids were made to move further down. Idiots like them ruin the day out.

Wooly74 added 19:36 - Mar 30
Dutch television tonight (Saturday) reporting that Ajax have made KM their number 1 coach target for next season, not sure that job would interest him, especially as they are unlikely to get CL football this season, but the journalist are adamant KM is their man!

BuckieBlue added 20:12 - Mar 30
Re Ajax, do they know nothing of our history- we recruit FROM the Netherlands not the other way round!

bobble added 00:06 - Mar 31
he is hardly going to leave football management and move into kitchen cleaning products...

Kickingblock added 10:39 - Mar 31
Quite right Bobble.
The sooner they scrub his name off their wish list, the better!

dirtydingusmagee added 11:21 - Mar 31
Stuttgart interested too by all accounts ,im afraid what ever happens now this season we will be lucky to keep KM at Portman rd , UNLESS he feels very happy to and can continue to improve the fortunes of the club, Loyalty in football is a very rare thing , money is the influentual factor, contracts are just bits of paper now .

Linkboy13 added 12:31 - Mar 31
The pressure is really telling as the season comes to a end. Can't see no reason why we can't win this league now. The other teams at the top have more expensive squads with greater expectations so they will feel the pressure more COYB.

MVBlue added 16:13 - Mar 31
Must say I noticed the different in defence. Not just Edmonson, but the defence and team were clearing the ball properly jnlune at Cardiff and I appreciated that change in defence. Too rigid with trying to pass it out at Cardiff, need to be able to do both. Well done McKenna.

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