Under-performing Blackburn Rovers slipped back down to the bottom of the Premier League following an unfortunate 2-1 defeat at the hands of in-form Tottenham Hotspur at Ewood Park on Sunday.
Hundreds of angry supporters protested against manager Steve Kean for the third consecutive home game, and their voices are growing louder as each week passes by. It appears as though Kean still has the support of the dressing room however if the performance of the players against Spurs is anything to go by. Rovers clearly have enough ability and talent to create chances, but they have simply been without luck on too many occasions this season. On another day, with fortune on their side, the hosts would have clinched at least a point against Harry Redknapp’s men.
Some Rovers fans believe that for a manager whose team is currently struggling at the bottom of the league, Kean comes across as being far too positive in his interviews. The Scot is undoubtedly an optimist, but is that really such a bad thing? Of course, having the bottle to come clean after a poor performance would be welcome at times. On the other hand, it is the job of the manager to build confidence and belief amongst the players. If Kean was to stop encouraging his side with his comforting and positive words, then who else would do that for them?
On this occasion, the Rovers boss had every right to highlight the positives. The home side played well for large chunks of the game and had it not been for the classy former Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, Kean’s side would probably have got something out of the game. The former Premier League champions had more than twice as many opportunities in front of goal than Spurs, with the hosts taking 20 shots compared to Spurs’ nine. In the end however, Redknapp’s side were more clinical and that was the key difference between the two teams.
In the second half, Kean did all he could to give Rovers a more threatening outlook. First, Ruben Rochina and Yakubu came on to replace Simon Vukcevic and goalscorer Mauro Formica after 70 minutes. Jason Roberts was replaced by David Goodwillie soon after. The fans have questioned Kean’s changes in the past, but on this occasion he went all out to get the equaliser. The Scot may need to look at dipping into the transfer market for another proven forward when the January window opens – a quality striker could be the difference between Rovers staying up or going down this season.
There is still a long way to go until the end of the season and Rovers must start winning games soon if they are to remain in touch with the rest of the pack. The Lancashire side are currently just two points behind Fulham who are in 17th, but that gap could increase if Rovers fail to beat newly-promoted Norwich next weekend. The pressure is well and truly beginning to mount on Kean.
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