Don’t write Blackburn off yet, Steve Kean tells his critics following Premier League win over Norwich City
Blackburn boss Steve Kean warned the critics to hold fire on penning Rovers' Premier League obituary after a vital win over Norwich.
Kean insists his club can survive, despite difficult trips to both Chelsea and Tottenham, while relegation rivals Wigan are also due at Ewood Park over a tense run-in.
'We have been to Anfield, Goodison, Old Trafford, really tough away grounds, and got something, so why can't we go to White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge and get something?' he said.
'I told everybody a number of weeks ago when we beat Wolves and Sunderland and people were telling me that we were almost there that I knew there would be twists and turns. All we can do is pick up points from every game and like today, if other teams stumble we can take advantage.
'I felt we were worthy winners, but we can only look forward to the next game. This has given us a lifeline because the target from the remaining four games was to get something from them. You can imagine the mood in the dressing room. We have lads playing with injuries and fatigue. Junior (Hoilett) pops up with a quality goal and he is playing with a really tight hamstring.'
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Kean again faced fierce criticism from sections of the home support but the Scot was adamant the headlines should all be about his players.
'To be honest with you, we had one focus today. I said it earlier in the week the focus was on winning the game and getting the three points for Blackburn Rovers and that is what we have done,' he said. 'That is all I want to say on that matter. It was very focussed from the players and the staff. That was the main goal.
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'We have done it and I am absolutely delighted. We felt if we went positive with two out-and-out strikers with Yakubu and Hoilett and we added to that by having David Dunn in a position where he has played most of his career, just in that attacking position, we could ask questions of the Norwich back four and we did that. We had Morten Gamst (Pedersen) on his natural side putting good quality in at the back post and I thought from the first minute we really nullified the attacks of Norwich.'
Recalled central defender Gael Givet was named man-of-the-match after Kean had questioned the Frenchman's state of mind following the previous weekend's defeat to Swansea.
'I don't know who picks the man-of-the-match at the club but we probably had six or seven candidates. Givet was outstanding,' he said. 'Scott Dann and him looked a solid partnership. Both full backs stopped balls into the box and in midfield we nullified their rhythm and penetrating runs. It was no surprise to me how he played.
'Since he has been at the club he has been a total warrior. He took an injection at half-time. He had a severe dead leg very high up on his leg. The doctor also gave Bradley Orr an injection and Gael didn't want to come off. I am delighted because I said in the build up that Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in training he was absolutely top notch. I think if you train like that, like we have, there is no surprise that we turn up and play like that.'
The embattled Kean was also forced to dismiss rumours of another reported rift with Steven Nzonzi after the midfielder was omitted.
'I don't know what you are talking about, to be fair,' he said. 'Nzonzi came out of the team and people were asking me why. Every single game, apart from the two he was suspended and the one he was ill, he had played every single minute of every single Premier League game and unfortunately for him it has caught up with him a little bit. His physical statistics have started to tumble and he needed a rest.
'He is burnt out so if we played him again he is risking injury. He was on the bench and I spoke to him and said we would put him on if there was an emergency.
'I didn't want him to train Monday, I wanted him to get all his energy back because he is a quality player.'