DOUGIE Freedman sent out a strong message after blitzing Blackburn Rovers in the derby – claiming his Wanderers side were now ready to take on all comers in the Championship.
In what was the biggest win over their local rivals in 86 years, goals from Medo Kamara, Joe Mason, Jay Spearing and Andre Moritz made for a special day in what has been a frustrating season so far.
But speaking after the game, Freedman – who has on occasion been critical of his side during spells of poor form – believes the players have now emerged stronger for their experiences in the last seven months.
“I’ve tried not to blame, point fingers at individuals or find excuses because I have heard them all before,” he said. “I’m sitting here and saying to you guys that I am very comfortable with whatever team comes at us now.
“If they want to mix it, we can do it, if they want to try and play football against us, we can do that as well.
“I’m 18 months into this job and seeing a team that is starting to mould and one that can compete in different games, not just fall away.”
Wanderers moved up just one place to 18th but now have a nine-point lead over the bottom three.
While Freedman admitted he could not pick out a single star man in what was perhaps the best performance of his tenure at the Reebok, he did reserve praise for his midfield, who were outstanding on the day against a Rovers side that are currently chasing the play-offs.
“I don’t think you can dig out one player for man of the match, everyone gave a good solid and professional job,” he said. “It starts, though, with a strong spine in your team.
“From your goalkeeper, centre-backs, midfield and the lads up top, they were excellent.
“But I thought that was some of the best football that Mark Davies has played for me – his movement was a pleasure to watch.
“I wanted to play a formation to allow Neil Danns to put himself about. He set the tone right away.
“And Medo and Spearing led by example in the middle of the park. Your captain is your core, and it’s pleasing to see him dictate how a game is going to go.
“I try not to make too many excuses when players are not available but when they are, it means I can set people about different roles.”