Doncaster Rovers: Darren Ferguson’s pride as Rovers show grit against Arsenal

Doncaster's manager Darren Ferguson and Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger. Pic:''Andrew Roe
Doncaster's manager Darren Ferguson and Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger. Pic:''Andrew Roe

Darren Ferguson declared himself proud of his Doncaster Rovers side for the manner in which they handled the ‘learning curve’ of facing top flight Arsenal.

Rovers produced a gutsy performance to test the Premier League giants in the Carabao Cup before ultimately going down to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of a Theo Walcott goal.

And, after a disappointing run of form in the league, Ferguson felt his side had responded superbly.

“I was proud of the players,” he said. “I felt they did a lot of the things I asked of them and in a cup match you need a bit of luck. But it was a great learning curve. In terms of concentration it was a fantastic learning curve for my players.

“The concentration levels had to be really good from my players.

“The opening period of the game was tough for us. But we stuck at it, we kept the belief and the important thing was that after we went behind, we kept it to 1-0 until half time. That gave us hope.

“I thought the reaction to going behind was very good.”

Rovers had chances to level the game, particularly during a strong second half showing when Matty Blair hit the bar with a header.

Ferguson felt Rovers could have shown a greater degree of quality in the final third - a problem which they have encountered in recent weeks. And while overall he was buoyed by the performance at the Emirates, he said Saturday’s trip to fellow League One strugglers Plymouth Argyle is a completely different scenario.

He said: “We still need to find that bit more quality in the last third.

“Even tonight I felt we could have had more shots and Tommy Rowe at the end could have put it in the box.

“We’re not far off. I don’t feel we are. We’ve shown against Arsenal that we’ve got some good players and we’re a good team.

“Saturday at Plymouth is different to tonight. Tonight you want a performance and not get a battering, which I seen Arsenal do many time here.

“Saturday is about winning. We’ve got to get back to winning ways.”