Jon Dahl Tomasson praised “intelligent” Andrew Moran after the 19-year-old loanee netted his first goals in English football to help Blackburn beat Cardiff 5-2 in the Carabao Cup third round.
The Irishman, on loan from Brighton, lit up a pulsating encounter that started with Jake Garrett’s third cup goal of the season giving Rovers the lead before Callum Robinson’s piledriver levelled matters.
Moran’s influence began when setting up Arnor Sigurdsson to score for the second consecutive game before Kion Etete’s turn and finish brought Cardiff a second equaliser.
Rovers pulled away in the second half with Moran confidently slotting home in the 49th minute before winning a penalty that Runar Alex Runarsson saved to deny Sigurdsson.
Moran curled in a brilliant fourth before setting up Dilan Markanday to stroke home the fifth.
Blackburn boss Tomasson said: “(Moran is) a great player, first of all.
“He scores goals, he can give assists.
“He’s intelligent, his flair on the ball is extremely good, to carry the ball, he’s good to play one or two touches. He works hard for the team.
“A young boy, young man, who is also very driven. He wants to become better, he is very ambitious. So we are very pleased with Andy.”
On his team’s display, Tomasson added: “Great result, great performance. Some of the attacking football we saw today was exceptional, on a high level.
“We scored five great goals. Probably could have had 10. Great to see some of the players who haven’t played that much getting opportunities to get minutes as well. We don’t have the biggest squad so we need everybody up to speed so it was great to see that performance.
“It must be a blow when you concede a goal just before half time. The players dealt with the second half really well, adjusting from conceding that late and showed some exceptional football.”
Cardiff changed their entire starting XI and it showed. But Erol Bulut admitted his priorities lie with the league.
He said: “I said before, in the cup we will try to continue so far as we can. Today was the end for us against a good Blackburn team. They played much, much better than us.
“We were not concentrated enough, not focused enough.
“For me and the club the priority is the league, so that’s why we didn’t bring many players with us.
“But at least we saw today which players we can use in our main team. Today it was only a few, not enough, not as many as I was expecting. But there were a few who can help us in the league.”