MAESTRO MIRCO DELIGHTS EVANS
LEEDS boss Steve Evans heaped praise on Mirco Antenucci after the frontman notched his fourth goal in three games in the win over Blackburn.
Skipper Sol Bamba’s close-range finish handed Leeds a first-half advantage with Antenucci’s ninth of the campaign doubling Leeds’ lead, while Simeon Jackson grabbed a late consolation for Rovers.
And Evans, whose side have won three games in a week since being thrashed by Brighton, wants his striker to concentrate on his football despite his contract expiring in the summer.
“It was very similar to Cardiff in midweek. When I see Antenucci go through in that fashion I only think he’s going to score,” said Evans. “I’ve said many times what a wonderful finisher he is on the training ground.
“The conversation is just go and play your football son, let your football do the talking and he’s got a lot of games to go between now and the end of the season.
“It’s easy to be good for a week, it’s a lot harder to be good for seven, eight, ten weeks or a season, but he’s a wonderful player.”
Tony Watt went toe-to-toe with Liam Bridcutt and he nearly slipped in Elliott Bennett, but Gaetano Berardi made a vital 13th-minute interception.
Moments later from Bennett’s freekick, Shane Duffy rose highest to head just over the bar as Rovers pressed for an opener.
Leeds youngster Alex Mowatt nearly handed his side a 16th-minute lead after his sublime free-kick over the Blackburn wall was clawed away by a diving Jason Steele.
Danny Graham could have given Rovers a 32nd-minute lead when he rolled past Giuseppe Bellusci and Marco Silvestri parried the low effort into Watt’s path only for Charlie Taylor to clear.
And Leeds made Rovers pay two minutes later when some poor Blackburn marking left Bamba free to side foot home Mowatt’s corner.
Leeds top scorer Antenucci had his first sight of goal when he turned and ran at the Blackburn rearguard to unleash a 43rd-minute rocket wide.
Bamba nearly added his second in style after controlling Bridcutt’s stoppage-time free-kick for an overhead kick only to be penalized for fouling Steele with the attempt. After the break, Sunderland loanee Graham met Ben- nett’s 49th-minute corner but failed to direct his header towards goal as Rovers sought an equaliser.
But from Bennett’s 69th-minute freekick, Leeds broke forwards swiftly through Mowatt who fed in Antenucci to lift the ball expertly over Steele and double his side’s advantage.
Bellusci had a nervous moment when Craig Conway’s dangerous 80thminute cross clipped off the defender’s head and narrowly missed creeping in.
But Rovers grabbed one back when Graham knocked down for Jackson, whose first close-range effort was saved by Silvestri, but the substitute made no mistake with the rebound.
And following the late drama, Blackburn boss Paul Lambert felt the recent busy schedule made the encounter a game too far for his side.
“I’ve just said to them, you’ve played so many games in a short space of time and I don’t know if any other team’s had this schedule that we have,” he said.
“It’s gruelling and it’s the same lads that have been going out, week in, week out, and I knew one game was going to come back and bite you.
“But I couldn’t fault the effort and the commitment.
“So I’m disappointed to lose but you’ve got to give the lads credit, for never giving in.”
ON A REAL HIGH: Leeds United’s Sol Bamba celebrates scoring the opener