Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray has conceded that his side may have got carried away by talk of reaching the play-offs following their 3-1 win over Bristol City last month.
An impressive victory over the Robins at Ewood Park in the first game after the season’s restart had seen Rovers move to within a point of the play-off places, at that point with eight games of the season remaining.
However, three straight defeats – to relegation-threatened duo Wigan and Barnsley and promotion hopefuls Leeds – following that win had seemingly ended those hopes of a top-six finish, before Tuesday’s win at Cardiff left Rovers with a glimmer of hope of doing just that.
Now it seems as though Mowbray is determined not to get ahead of himself in the final four games of the season, as speaking in the aftermath that win in Wales, he told the Lancashire Telegraph: “Let’s just try and win the next game, I’m just focusing on that. We got a bit carried away, one point off the play-offs, and then the results didn’t go our way and then everyone is flat.
“Huge credit to them for lifting themselves and those lads are a huge credit to themselves and the football club.”
Can Rovers reach the play-offs this season?
Despite that, Mowbray does not believe that the talk of the play-offs helped cause those defeats at Wigan and Barnsley, as he added: “Is that my fault? I’m trying to create an ambition for us all so that we all believe that’s where we need to be, top 10, top six.
“Did we take our eye off the ball against Wigan and Barnsley? I don’t think so. I think we performed well, but missed chances. You have to score to win matches.
“It can happen in football. The Leeds game, we could have been 3-1 up after they scored. Yet we missed chances that day. “
Sadly for Rovers, this has been something of a theme ever since their return to the Championship at the start of last season.
Any time a run has been put together to take them close to the top-six, a run of results similar to those three straight defeats has taken it away from them again.
You do have to wonder therefore, whether the prospect of the play-offs – and the possibility of promotion that comes with it, has actually been a distraction for Rovers in recent years, and it will be interesting to see whether things work out differently now in these final four games, with Mowbray’s men still very much underdogs in this race for the top six.