It came as little surprise to see Marcelo Bielsa’s players applaud the travelling support, despite them having drawn a pre-season friendly against Championship opposition.
The noise generated in the away end may have been the greatest highlight at Ewood Park, but there was plenty of promise to be taken away from the 1-1 stalemate between Blackburn Rovers and Leeds United, with Raphinha and Struijk particularly impressing on the night.
Connor McBride’s deflected free-kick gave Illan Meslier no chance, but Struijk delivered a poacher’s finish to level the scores in a well executed move by the Whites.
Here are the player ratings:
Illan Meslier - 7
Didn’t have much to do. Comfortably held the one shot he faced in the first half. Got down well to save Brereton Diaz’s effort following the Chilean’s driving run forward in the second. Not much he could do to stop McBride’s deflected free kick.
Junior Firpo (off 62’) - 7
A solid debut for the new left-back. Linked up nicely with Harrison and Costa which bodes well for the season ahead. Struggled to make up lost ground in turnover situations, though.
Pascal Struijk - 7.5
Generally showed good awareness and defended well at set pieces. Found Raphinha with an excellent pass in the build up to Klich’s lobbed effort on goal, and forced a save with a header from a corner in the second half.
Could have been mistaken for a striker as his deflected shot found the back of the net to level the scores. One of his stray passes handed Blackburn their best chance of the game, however. Man of the match were it not for his mixed passing.
Diego Llorente (off 46’) - 7
A perfectly timed sliding challenge denied Armstrong in Blackburn’s best chance of the match. Overall, a decent display from the Spanish international.
Jamie Shackleton - 7
Looked at home at right-back. Linked up well with Rodrigo and made some dangerous overlapping runs. Slightly quieter after the interval.
Jack Harrison - 7
Was more involved in the second half as he caused Blackburn some trouble with one or two threatening crosses and a good ball for Roberts with 10 minutes to go. Showed good patience and vision as he pulled the ball back for Struijk’s equaliser.
Mateusz Klich - 7
Looked comfortable and confident. Had a dinked effort tipped wide by the goalkeeper in the first half. Linked the play well, particularly in the build-up to Struijk’s finish.
Robin Koch (c) - 7
Slotted in well in a midfield role. Looks to be building on last season’s appearances in a holding role. Interesting to see him take the captain’s armband.
Raphinha (off 62’) - 8
Leeds’ man of the match. Popped up all over the place, played some good balls, made some good runs and had a curling shot tipped over the bar in the first half among others.
Rodrigo Moreno (off 62’) - 6.5
Played some fairly dangerous through balls in the first half and seemed to be on the same wavelength as Shackleton down the right side. Not an overly eventful hour of football for the Spaniard.
Helder Costa - 5.5
A difficult evening for the ex-Wolves forward, who struggled to make an impact playing across Leeds’ front line. Gave away a silly free-kick which led to Blackburn’s goal. Stabbed one effort wide of goal in the first half and dragged another off target in the second. Was involved in the build-up play for the equaliser, though.
Luke Ayling (on 46’) - 6
Played at centre-back after replacing Llorente. Looked a bit rusty with a misplaced pass and a failed attempt to stop a Brereton Diaz run in the opening stages after the interval. Otherwise a comfortable, if uneventful cameo.
Stuart Dallas (on 62’) - 6.5
Replaced debutant Firpo at left-back. Delivered a couple of dangerous crosses in the latter stages of the match.
Sam Greenwood (on 62’) - 6
Wasn’t hugely involved after replacing Rodrigo, but did well enough to feature having played the full 90 minutes of yesterday’s friendly win at Guiseley. Good to see him mixing with the first team.
Tyler Roberts (on 62’) - 7
Attempted a clever chip which was tipped over by the keeper. An ambitious overhead kick went wide in the dying moments.
Who was your man of the match? Vote in the poll below (viewable in browser) and let us know on Twitter.
Who was your man of the match vs. Blackburn?
This poll is closed