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Page last updated at 07:31 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 08:31 UK

Blackburn deny player unrest jibe

By Russell Barder

Paul Ince
Ince left MK Dons for Rovers after winning the League Two title

Reports of a player revolt at Blackburn Rovers since the arrival of new manager Paul Ince have been denied by the club.

There have been suggestions that some players are unhappy with the methods introduced by Ince and his backroom staff since Mark Hughes' departure.

But Ray Mathias, Ince's assistant, told BBC Sport: "There's been no problem in the camp - which we know of anyway.

"There's nothing like that happening within the club. The players have responded to all we've given them."

Mathias has been in football as a player and manager for more than 30 years, but his job at Blackburn is his first in the top flight.

It has not been an easy introduction for the 61-year-old and Ince, who have had to deal with the departures of key players David Bentley and Brad Friedel as well as reports of players wanting to leave the club.

On the eve of their Premier League debut away at Everton Mathias tells BBC Sport about his early life at Ewood Park, their plans for the new season and the future of star striker Roque Santa Cruz.


It was interesting moving away from MK Dons, but the size of the club we're at now is massive and everything about it is fantastic.

You only realise how big the club is when you get here.

Whatever people say or think about us we've got to put that behind us now

Ray Mathias
They've built that up over the years and become one of the best clubs in the Premier League, they've always been in the top half of the league and hopefully we can maintain that.

I think our expectations are doing well this season and trying to better what the previous management team had done.

They did an excellent job at the football club and we hopefully can achieve better things than they did but we know it's going to be hard.


At this present time Roque Santa Cruz is staying and no-one will be leaving this football club.

The manager is in control of everything, he decides who goes and stays and it's vitally important that he does that.

Roque Santa Cruz
Rovers have rejected a bid from Manchester City for Santa Cruz
There's talk of players leaving here there and everywhere, and it can be quite disruptive but you just get on with it.

We know we're one of the smaller clubs in the Premier League in terms of money, but we've got a good squad of players that we feel are capable of doing well for us and Roque, at this moment in time, is one of our players.

Brad Friedel when he was here, even with everything that was going on with Aston Villa, was a total professional in everything he did.

Roque Santa Cruz is exactly the same. He hasn't changed in any shape or form, he's the same person, he goes out training in the same way, he applies himself very professionally and he has proven what a good player and a good person he is.


Paul Robinson is a fantastic keeper. For two years he was England's number one and through a little bit of misfortune he lost his place and lost a bit of confidence but I can assure you now that Paul is on a high.

He wants to show people what he is capable of and wants to win his place back in the England team.

First and foremost his responsibilities lie with Blackburn Rovers Football Club and doing well for us, if he achieves that then he will back in the number one spot for England.


When we arrived David Bentley had made his mind up to try and better himself.

David Bentley
Ince tried to persuade Bentley to stay at Ewood Park
Occasionally players do have their mind focused on a higher scale of football, and sometimes you can't change that.

It's a change in direction of David and it was very hard to persuade him, but I can assure you the gaffer tried very hard.

Also with Brad Friedel, the gaffer did try to keep him here but obviously certain circumstances kept him focused on where he wanted to go.


We have two-and-a-half weeks to go until the transfer window closes, we've been monitoring quite a lot of players and it's vitally important that we do try and add some new players.

We have lost two players and it's important we try to fill their places.

We've brought in Paul Robinson but we hope to continue signing some more players in the next two and a half weeks.

We've also signed Carlos Villanueva, that's a starting point and hopefully he'll excite the crowd - he's a very good, intelligent player


We've worked hard in pre-season and now we go into the big situation at Everton on Saturday where we have to get points - and it's vitally important we do pick up points early in the season.

If you get a good set of results it breeds confidence and hopefully you can go from there and that's we what we want to achieve.

We've got to get on with it now. Whatever people say or think about us we've got to put that behind us now and got to the business on the pitch and show people what we are made of.

We've shown great character coming through the Macclesfield situation and the MK Dons situation and now we've got this massive task in front of us.

It's an honour to be involved with Blackburn Rovers and we'll hopefully better everything they achieved last season.

see also
We must stay together - Emerton
15 Aug 08 |  Blackburn
Man City fail in Santa Cruz bid
14 Aug 08 |  Blackburn
Everton v Blackburn
14 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Premier League newcomer at Blackburn
13 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Motherwell seal double transfer
08 Aug 08 |  Motherwell
Santa Cruz's brother joins Rovers
06 Aug 08 |  Blackburn
Blackburn sign Man Utd's Simpson
04 Aug 08 |  Blackburn
Blackburn sign Chilean Villanueva
02 Aug 08 |  Blackburn
Tottenham complete Bentley switch
30 Jul 08 |  Tottenham
Robinson vows to win England spot
29 Jul 08 |  Blackburn
Friedel completes move to Villa
26 Jul 08 |  Aston Villa
Keeper Robinson joins Blackburn
25 Jul 08 |  Blackburn

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