Nigel Pearson praised “infectious” Nahki Wells and his all-round performance after his brace helped Bristol City to a 3-2 win at Blackburn.
The 32-year-old marksman ultimately made the difference, scoring the second and third goals – both different types of finishes – as City held off a Blackburn fightback to rise to third in the table.
They were well worth their win, with Wells missing a glorious first-half chance to go with Andreas Weimann also firing wide.
The Robins are the Championship’s highest scorers and are now undefeated in eight in all competitions, winning six.
Pearson was quick to point out Wells’ contribution on and off the pitch.
He said: “He’s got a real enthusiasm for a more senior player. It’s infectious too. He cares a lot about his football.
“It hurts when he’s not playing but last year when he didn’t get many opportunities, he was a really good team-mate to his peers and was very supportive to them and he deserves his chance and he’s taken it well so far.
“A really good finish. Nahki is a good finisher but actually today his workrate and his understanding of what the team needed was right up there, so yes, a good contribution.”
City took a deserved lead through Tommy Conway’s powerful close-range header – his second in three games – three minutes before the break.
Afterwards, it became the Wells show as the Bermudan showed his clinical instincts, doubling the advantage with an unerring finish in the 55th minute
Tyrhys Dolan’s powerful reply in the 71st minute threatened to derail the visitors’ dominance, but Wells reasserted it with a predatory finish, pouncing on a rebound for a close-range finish awarded by goalline technology, his fourth of the term.
Ben Brereton-Diaz’s injury-time strike proved too little, too late for Rovers.
Although they shipped two goals, Pearson was particularly pleased with how his team reacted during moments under pressure.
He added: “We always look dangerous on the counter attack but some of our possession football was good too so we were able to mix it up.
“We also looked pretty solid when we had to defend set plays. At the start of the second half, Blackburn had a number of corners in a short period of time and we looked pretty solid. There’s a really healthy competition for places at the moment and that’s something that is very important for us.
“It’s been a tough journey so far to get us in this state but at least we are making progress and that’s pleasing hopefully for our fans.”
Rovers have lost back-to-back home games for the first time this season and, though Jon Dahl Tomasson stressed his team is in transition, he admitted Blackburn didn’t make it difficult enough for their opponents.
He said: “I think we should be disappointed with the result and performance. We know we played against a very good side.
“We know we can be very good if we’re not passive, play a few touches, which we didn’t do.
“It was frustrating conceding two goals on the counter attack. But you see it, it’s a young group, with a lot of new players who are going through a big transition.
“I said it from day one and I’ll keep on saying the whole year, you’ll probably get tired of me. But it will go like this, up and down.
“But of course, it’s frustrating. We want to create an environment here where it’s difficult to go to Ewood.
“I know that Bristol are in very good form at the moment but it wasn’t that difficult for them today. I’m sure we will review this game and work hard next week to be better.
“It’s normal when it’s a young group and a lot of new players. It’s going to take time. Of course, we need to learn quickly but we want to create a special place here at the stadium with our fans.”
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