BURTON Albion manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink says his side found a way to win in a tough match at home to Bristol Rovers this evening.
Despite a bright start from Hasselbaink’s Brewers, the visitors grew into the first half and had the best of the chances before the break, with Hasselbaink making a tactical switch just past the half-hour to get Albion back into the game.
A red card for Luke McCormick early in the second half gave Albion the man advantage and two minutes later Jonny Smith’s fine strike gave the Brewers a lead they would not relinquish.
And Hasselbaink was pleased with the win, especially for how difficult Joey Barton’s side made life particularly in the first half.
“We knew from the start it was going to be a very difficult match,” said Hasselbaink.
“We knew they would be difficult to beat and they gave us trouble in the wide areas, with their wing-backs.
“They were good - and sometimes you need to say that we didn’t play well, especially in the first half. The second half was a little bit better but in the first we didn’t play well.
“You can’t play every match well - you need to find a way to win. Some will say it wasn’t deserved and look, we didn’t perform the best we could but we’ll take the three points.
“Three points are vital for us at the moment. We made mistakes, but we dug in. Certain players who hadn’t played a lot had cramp and we had to change, but we found a way and that was the most important thing.
“Now we can look at the performance and we can improve that.”
Hasselbaink felt his side needed to show more of a “killer instinct” after going 1-0 up, with the Brewers creating plenty in an improved second half without finding the back of the net for a second time.
“We should have had the killer instinct finish the job off,” said the manager.
“We had the chances but we weren’t clinical enough, and we need to be clinical. You need to make it 2-0.”
And Hasselbaink was naturally pleased with Smith, not just for the goal but for his tireless defensive work.
“Jonny is somebody who can play - he’s quick, direct and he can have that moment, and we needed that moment from one of our creative players,” said Hasselbaink. “He came up with it.
“Not only that, he does a lot of work defensively and he has to get credit for that as well. He works extremely hard for the team and he came up with a magic moment.”