Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Kean Says - You Will Have To Sack Me

Steve Kean has told ­Blackburn’s absentee owners they will have to wield the axe if they want him out of Ewood Park.

The defiant Scot is refusing to walk away even though defeat on Tuesday night would mean he has registered just seven wins in 38 Premier League games and leave Rovers spending Christmas staring up at every other team.

“I will not walk away, because I believe I can turn it around,” he said.

“I believe once we can get a couple of wins under our belt, once we get a settled side – we can get some wins. I believe in my heart, if we can get a side that is in the treatment room on to the pitch, we will win games.

“That is not just me saying that, you speak to other managers and they will tell you the same. We are a good side when we can get the side out there.’’

Kean has been given a target by his bosses of four points out of the ­successive ‘winnable’ home festive clashes with West Brom and Bolton.

Rovers struck out in the first of those, going down to Peter Odemwingie’s last minute strike on Saturday.

And it seems inconceivable that his optimism will not be shattered if they suffer defeat at the hands of Owen Coyle’s fellow strugglers tonight.

Kean, like the rest of football, has no real idea what the club’s Indian-based owners Venky’s are really thinking.

To his face they are stringing him along with requests for transfer targets, while behind his back they are calling up agents to demand suggestions for potential replacements.

Love him or loath him, and few in Blackburn do the former, you have to admire his obstinate stance at a club where he is more isolated than Robinson Crusoe.

While his rival on Tuesday night, Coyle, has been given the public backing of the board at Bolton, Kean is fending for himself as angry Rovers fans grow ever closer to sending in the lynch mob.

No warming words from India, no training ground visits from the owners to express support, not a murmur.

Even when the club revealed the signing of his new deal in late November it was with a sense of embarrassment rather than the pomp usually associated with such occasions.

Those days early in Venky’s tenure when co-owner Anuradha Desai claimed he was “unsackable’’ are in the dim and distant past.

Any hope Kean had of some recent patronage from the sub-continent passed when brothers Balaji Rao and Venkatesh Rao turned up for the draw at Wigan and headed off at half-time after getting just a taster of the abuse the manager puts up with.

Are they coming back soon? Not in the near future, according to Kean. Instead he is left communicating via telephone calls to India. The latest of which came on Sunday.

And was his future discussed?

“No," said Kean on Monday. “We never spoke on that level.

“We spoke about the importance of the game with Bolton and a lot about the transfer window.

“But the backing I have got from the owners is clear. There will be funds available in the window.

“We have already got to naming names of targets. It is not just a case of figures floating about, it has got to a level where names are being accepted.”

Rovers insist there will be money to spend in January, despite claims bankers Barclays want a loan repaid next month.

In the meantime, Kean’s bid to get his best team on the park were further hit by the news that Scott Dann is out for six weeks following emergency surgery on a ruptured testicle.

It’s the latest in a succession of injuries that holds the only clue as to why Kean is being given more time by the owners.

He added: “If we talk about the ­injuries to Michel Salgado, Ryan Nelsen, Gael Givet and Martin Olsson you ­virtually have a back four on its own.

“They are all out at the same time. We have the starting 11 and seven players who are injured that would all start. Then you are down to players that would not play as much. You have to accept it and play people out of position.

“I’m not making excuses because I don’t like to make them, but we have to look at the injury position we are in and it is tough to get a settled back four out for two games on the bounce.

“Players are getting injured and accept that as a reason why we are letting in goals. The back four of last season, when we were picking up results all over the place, the back four was the same every game.’’

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