Kean buoyed by Redknapp praise

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was so impressed by Blackburn's performance at the weekend that he called opposite number Steve Kean to talk up Rovers' prospects.


Kean's men gave the Champions League hopefuls a real battle at Ewood Park but succumbed to two Rafael van der Vaart strikes to slump to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League table.

A section of Blackburn fans demonstrated before and after the game calling for Kean's sacking, the third successive home match they have taken such action, but Rovers' Indian owners Venky's have so far been unequivocal in backing their man.

Kean described Sunday's performance as setting the standard Blackburn must reach in every game, starting with Wednesday night's Carling Cup fourth-round clash against Newcastle.

The Scot is convinced a change in fortunes is just around the corner, and he said: "It's coming and I take great credit when somebody of Harry Redknapp's experience and ability calls me yesterday and tells me that.

"The mood's good. Sunday was a game where we had a consistent performance. In previous matches we've sometimes had a good first-half performance, not so good in the second, but I think we had a good 90-minute performance and I think we were very unlucky.

"You look at the second goal, where there's a deflection that comes off somebody's knee and falls into the stride pattern of Van der Vaart.

"Then when we've looked through our chances, (Aiyegbeni) Yakubu's got a header that's hit Gareth Bale on the back, there's three or four set-plays that have just fallen between a couple of players. But what we need to do is focus on continuing to make that amount of chances.

"I don't think on Sunday we had a bad player on the pitch. That's our standard now, and what we've got to do is keep that because I thought it was a real contrast from the last time we played Newcastle."

Newcastle's start to the season has been everything Blackburn's has not, with Alan Pardew's side exceeding expectations by going through the first two months unbeaten and occupying the rarefied heights of the Champions League places.

One of their five league wins came against Blackburn at St James' Park a month ago, when Kean's side contributed to their own downfall with a limp performance and had Martin Olsson sent off.

"I thought we were poor in that game and we want to set the record straight and have a much better performance against them," added the Rovers boss.

"They've started very well and they're unbeaten but they're coming to Ewood and I think Tottenham will tell you there's not too many teams that enjoy coming to Ewood."

Defensive fragility has been Blackburn's principal problem, with 20 goals conceded in nine Premier League games, more than anyone except fellow strugglers Bolton.

Kean is paying particular attention to trying to halt the flow, and he said: "If we can add a more rugged will to not concede and to fight for a clean sheet, and I don't just mean the defenders, I mean everybody.

"They're working on it and it's definitely improving, so if we can put it all together we'll get clean sheets and we'll score."

Despite the protests of some fans and a record of only six wins in 30 Premier League games since taking over the reins last December, there have been reports Kean is in talks over a new contract.

The Scot refused to confirm or deny the speculation, saying only: "Any type of talks like that I'll keep private until the time's right."

Kean also played down rumours that Venky's are planning to install a director of football, with recently departed Leicester boss Sven-Goran Eriksson immediately linked with the role.

"I've not been told we're going to change anything around in that capacity," added Kean.

"I'm working closely with our sports director, Simon Hunt, and that's going very well. If the owners are going to do something I'm sure they'll consult with me."

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