Blackburn v Stoke reaction

Rovers were playing at home for the first time since the defeat by

Bolton two weeks ago that saw the abuse of Kean reach a peak but

the supporters gave the Scot a break following Saturday’s superb

win against Manchester United. The hosts began well but in the

first half Peter Crouch netted his 100th and 101st goals in league

football to put Stoke two up and David Goodwillie’s first Barclays

Premier League goal turned out to be just a consolation in a 2-1

loss. Kean said: “I thought the fans were excellent today and I’m

delighted because it’s a young team that we’ve got, and if they can

get that feel-good factor and confidence to get on the ball (then

results can improve). “I think the fans certainly came to the

ground positive, even at 2-0 they stayed with us, and it’s such a

big help. I can only applaud them for that.” Things may have turned

out differently had Christopher Samba scored early on. First the

big defender headed against the bar and then from a second corner

he planted the ball in the net only to see a free-kick awarded for

a foul on Thomas Sorensen. Stoke took advantage of those let-offs

in the 17th minute when Dean Whitehead picked out Crouch and he

benefited from a slip by Samba to chest the ball down and fire

home. Rovers went back on the attack but were hit with a sucker

punch just before the break as Matthew Etherington ran virtually

from his own penalty area before crossing for Crouch to convert in

a similar manner to his first. The second half was a story of

frustration for Rovers until a Morten Gamst Pedersen set-piece

finally bore fruit, Grant Hanley heading a 69th-minute corner

towards goal where Goodwillie eventually turned it in. And the

hosts should have had a point but Ayegbeni Yakubu saw his shot from

virtually on the goal-line somehow blocked by Jonathan Woodgate.

Kean said: “The second goal was a bit of a killer because I felt we

were pushing for the equaliser and we’ve not really dealt well at

all with the counter-attack and the ball’s come in too easy. “We

know that Peter Crouch, if he can get that type of service, then

it’s going to be tough. “Having said that, we tried to get the line

a bit higher in the second half and I felt we really dictated it. I

expected when we got the first to go on and get another and maybe

even nick it at the end.” Kean disputed referee Lee Mason’s

decision to chalk off Samba’s early header, saying: “We’re a little

bit disappointed with the goal that’s disallowed. “At first I

thought maybe that’s the referee thinking Chris has got hold of his

marker but he’s actually said he gave it against Yakubu. I’ve seen

it again and he’s just standing minding his own business.” Kean

praised the attitude of his players but was on the wrong end of

some enthusiastic play late on from Pedersen, who ended up tackling

the manager in his technical area. “I tried to ride it but I saw it

too late,” joked Kean. “But I took it in good spirits.” Stoke boss

Tony Pulis was one of a number of managers to criticise the

Blackburn fans for their treatment of Kean, but he was impressed by

the atmosphere at Ewood Park. He said: “I thought the Blackburn

supporters were brilliant today. They stuck with their team all the

way through, and they need to do that. “If they’ve got problems

with Steve or the owners, then do it in other ways, don’t turn up

to a game and take it out on the manager and the people who run the

football club because it has an effect on the players.” Pulis also

praised Blackburn for the way they pushed his side in the second

half, particularly from Pedersen’s set-pieces. The Welshman added:

“I thought first half we played well and played some good stuff. It

was a real mixture today. You’ve got to give them credit. “They’ve

got some great quality from their set-plays and they’re a big team.

Anything that goes round Samba it’s very difficult to win the first

ball and they used that very well. “They kept going for Steve. You

didn’t see a team out there who had given up hope. If they do that

in their remaining games, they’ll pick up some points.”