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Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 13:59 GMT
Blackburn overcome tiredness
Blackburn's David Thompson and James Beattie of Southampton challenge
Thompson and Beattie challenge for the ball
Blackburn manager Graeme Souness breathed a sigh of relief after his side ended a run of eight games without a win with victory over Southampton.

David Thompson's first-half strike was enough to give Rovers three points, but Souness admitted his players were feeling the strain of a packed season.

"It was a gritty performance and we were not at our silky passing best.

"But I was very pleased as we have played a lot of games already this season and have looked jaded recently," said Souness.

"They started brightly and it could have been 2-2 at half-time but David Thompson did well for his goal.

Brad Friedel has been absolutely fantastic against us this season and has cost us five points

Saints boss Gordon Strachan

"It was a sort of goal we encourage our wide players to get into position to score in the same way that Freddie Ljungberg does for Arsenal."

The Blackburn manager was pleased with the performance of Slovakian left-back Vratislav Gresko.

He also confirmed that Matt Jansen may be sent out on loan to get more first-team matches under his belt as he continues his recovery from a serious head injury.

Southampton manager Gordon Strachan believed Blackburn's keeper Brad Friedel was the difference between the two sides.

Southampton striker James Beattie
Beattie won an England call despite not scoring

"Brad Friedel has been absolutely fantastic against us this season and has cost us five points," he said.

"If we had scored early on I'm sure we would have done very well and even when they scored I still felt we could get back into the game.

"We got shots on target but I was not that pleased with our build-up play in that we didn't get as many crosses into our strikers as we would like.

Although James Beattie, who received a call-up to the England squad on Saturday evening failed to get on the scoresheet, his manager refused to criticise him.

"The way he has been playing you would have thought he would have taken his chances, but that happens in football and it's just genuine mistakes," said Strachan.


 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Stuart Hall
"It was stimulating, titillating and absorbing"
Southampton boss Gordon Strachan
"I still felt we could have got back into the game"
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"It was a gritty performance"
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