Rovers caretaker Black wary of Rhodes burn-out
ERIC Black admits Blackburn Rovers are asking ‘ridiculous’ things of £8million man Jordan Rhodes, and fears the striker is being run to a standstill.
Rovers’ caretaker boss blamed the lack of creativity in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Wolves on a lack of presence up front, but feels he has been left with little option to use Rhodes in the way he has.
Rovers’ joint record signing has been utilised as a lone striker for much of his short time at the club, due to injuries to Leon Best and Colin Kazim-Richards, with the latter still needing to find full fitness after returning on Saturday.
Black said: “With the options that I had I would defy anyone to tell me who I should have played up front today that would have given us a presence in this division.
“There is not a presence to keep the ball up.
“Kaz was the presence we thought might help.
“Unfortunately for Kaz he worked him-self to a standstill, but he has been out for a couple of months and that was asking an enormous am-ount of him to come and per-form at a top level Kazim-Richards.
“Rhodes, the poor kid has run himself to a standstill.
“He deserves a lot of credit for doing that and putting up with it but what we are asking him to do is ridiculous in my opinion.
“It won’t help the boy and it certainly won’t help us.
“If we had Kaz fully fit then we don’t put the pressure on Jordan Rhodes that we have done, because we have had no presence and have had to play one up and one off.
“In this division, I am not convinced it is the way to go.
“We are asking Jordan to be a Didier Drogba or a Leon Best. He has never done that in his life, why is he all of a sudden going to be running the channels and linking and setting the game?
“That is not what he does, but we have asked him to do that.
“He has done it willingly but I just think the poor kid looks absolutely shattered.
“Playing one up on his own is the last thing he needs. He doesn’t need that and we won’t get the best out of him doing that.
“But we don’t have anybody else who does that job in the club.”
Black has received criticism from some quarters for changing to a 3-5-2 formation but, despite being winless in the last two games, Black insists he does not regret it.
“I am quite happy with how we have changed it,” he said. “I take full responsibility for that.
“We were conceding a lot of goals and were very open and I still didn’t feel our performances were correct.
“I’m a great believer unless there is a strong foundation on the performances then you run out of luck.”