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Tony Mowbray hails dazzling Ben Brereton Diaz after Cardiff are humbled

Blackburn Rovers v Cardiff City – Sky Bet Championship – Ewood Park
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Tony Mowbray praised the ‘extraordinary’ workrate of Ben Brereton Diaz after the striker hit a hat-trick in Blackburn’s 5-1 crushing of Cardiff.

Rovers maintained their impressive start to the Sky Bet Championship season by thumping the Bluebirds and Chile international Brereton Diaz was at the heart of it.

Sam Gallagher opened the scoring by slotting his third of the campaign beyond Dillon Phillips before Brereton Diaz doubled the advantage with a superb volley just after the half-hour. And he put the game out of sight by bundling in a third before the half was out.

Blackburn’s third member of their front-line, Tyrhys Dolan, netted a fourth just after the break with a move that all three forwards were instrumental in, and although Sean Morrison headed a consolation, Brereton Diaz had the last laugh, completing his hat-trick with a confident penalty to make it seven for the season, equalling his goal tally for last season.

Mowbray’s men remain sixth after the stirring performance at Ewood Park and the manager praised his striker’s work rate and development of his finishing.

He said: “The starting point is his work rate. Strikers obviously always get the glory of scoring goals but he’s a kid who works his socks off for this team, up and down, up and down.

“He’s not playing down the middle, he’s not the Adam Armstrong centre-forward who is there to finish things off.

“He’s working extraordinarily hard tracking full backs – or wing-backs as it was today. So the physical output has been amazing really.

“The fact that he’s developing his finishing technique…I saw somewhere this week, he was talking about how hard he works coming in off that left on his right foot and trying to bend balls in the far corner or reverse them back into the near post.

“I’m just delighted he’s getting the rewards for all the hard work he does, as they all do to be honest. The training sessions are less group training sessions and more individual and the team are seeing the benefit of that.”

It’s a concerning run of form for the Bluebirds who have lost four of their last five, and three in a row for the first time under Mick McCarthy.

Cardiff’s manager said Blackburn’s opener was offside but admitted his team ‘capitulated’.

The 62-year-old said: “We started the game well in the first 20-25 minutes and had the best chances. I was really pleased.

“Their goal was offside. That does happen in the game, but what we can’t do is capitulate like we did.

“It sounds like an excuse but he’s offside. It gives them momentum and puts us on the back foot, but what we can’t do is concede again. That could have been avoided, – and then the third goal at half-time could have been avoided as well, and the game has run away from us.

“I had to do something at half-time and changed things up. I thought we got a response but we left ourselves open and we got caught again.

“It’s really difficult. All I can guarantee is we will keep trying and putting our best in.

“When we conceded it gave them impetus and we’ve been opened up. All I can do is make sure we give absolutely everything. We weren’t unlucky, that’s for sure.”