Samba: Time to forget Mark Hughes era and build for future
Blackburn Rovers 1 Fulham 1: Chris Samba insists Blackburn Rovers should have known better than to expect nothing but a spirited fightback from Fulham, given the fact Mark Hughes was back in town to haunt his former club at Ewood Park.
But while the Blackburn captain knows more than most how good Hughes was for Rovers during his spell in charge, he believes it is time for the club to condemn his former manager to history and try and achieve even more under current leader Sam Allardyce.
Hughes was on the wrong end of some abuse from home supporters, but the banter represented a back-handed compliment to someone who led Blackburn into Europe and an FA Cup semi-final during his time at the helm. He also gave Samba his first chance to shine in the Premier League and it was Samba who put Rovers into the lead after hapless Mark Schwarzer had been fouled when coming out to punch clear.
But Hughes's side displayed the same sort of spirit and fight which defined his own career to hit back just before the hour mark and earn a deserved point thanks to Clint Dempsey's clinical header.
Samba appreciates what Hughes did for both himself and Rovers during his four years at the helm before quitting for Manchester City, but the defender reckons the time has come to banish those memories and create some new ones. He said: "We know he's a good manager and he knows all about us. Mark Hughes did well when he was here, but it's two-and-a-half years since he left. The page has turned on him and now we have to look to the future."
The Cottagers remain unbeaten this season since Hughes replaced Roy Hodgson and the man himself believes his new side are showing a different mentality under him, saying: "Obviously getting an equaliser was good from my point of view. I just thought we needed to be more dynamic and recognise when you can keep the ball rather than conceding ground and allowing the opposition to take the initiative. I wanted us to dictate to the opposition.
"Historically we haven't been very good on the road. This is the type of game we would have invariably lost in the past. But we haven't done that and we showed good signs."
Blackburn Rovers (4-5-1) Robinson; Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Givet; M Diouf, Jones, Grella (Nzonzi, 75), Pedersen (Emerton, 60); E Diouf; Kalinic (Benjani, 64). Substitutes not used Bunn (gk), Chimbonda, Linganzi, Hoilett.
Fulham (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, Salcido; Davies, Murphy (Gera, 88), Etuhu, Duff; Dembele; Dempsey (E Johnson 77). Substitutes not used Etheridge (gk), Pantsil, Baird, Riise, Greening.
Man of the match Samba
Possession Blackburn 60% Fulham 40%
Shots on target Blackburn 14 Fulham 6
Referee A Taylor (Cheshire) Attendance 23,759
Match rating 6/10.