Friday, November 12, 2004

More Happy Campers At Blackburn Camp

Nils-Eric Johansson is the latest Blackburn Rovers player to express their enthusiasm under the new reign of ex-Wales manager Mark Hughes. This is despite Blackburn finding themselves last in the English Premier League with just under a third of the season gone. Former manager Graeme Souness left early in the season to take up the managerial post at Newcastle United after a winless start to the season.

Previously, many of the players, including the likes of veteran defender Craig Short and forward Matt Jansen, and Australia international Brett Emerton, had expressed their enthusiasm under the new regime. Emerton stressed that Hughes gets on well with everyone and "the players are a lot happier" after being under the iron fist of a confrontational Souness for several seasons.

Johansson, a Swedish defender who was quite surprisingly missing throughout Souness' reign, has expressed his delight at having a chance to prove himself in the first team under Hughes in the last year of his contract. "With Souness, unfortunately he looked more for experience than youth and enthusiasm and in my case that was not good. I ended up watching most of the games but now I'm in the team and I need a string of games now, five or six in a row. I'm desperate to play."

The only player to have expressed discontent with the new manager is Turkish defensive midfielder Tugay. "Nobody wants to play football any more (at Blackburn). The (previous) manager (Graeme Souness) left and that's how it is now. Now, I'm looking for new alternatives."

That is quite a different story to what all of the other players who have gone public with their views on Mark Hughes. It was to be expected though, as he followed Graeme Souness from Turkey to play in England. But that seems to have settled down now due to the integral role he is playing in Rovers' recovery.

Hearing this latest news from Nils-Eric Johansson is sure to keep the enthusiasm of the average Rovers fan with something to be thankful for, informing that Blackburn are going in the right direction. If they were going badly then surely these enthusiastic reports would not keep being produced to the media.

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