Kean takes positives from loss

Kean regularly uses statistics to shield himself from growing

criticism of his record but the Scot knows the important numbers

are not adding up for his side this season. The 3-1 defeat at Stoke

saw Rovers drop to the foot of the Premier League, having won just

once this season and taken only three points from their last eight

matches. Kean is three weeks from his first anniversary of taking

over from Sam Allardyce but in his 34 Premier League matches he has

recorded a paltry six victories. He rejected suggestions the

performance at the Britannia Stadium was a bad one but admitted

they have to improve defensively as they have the worst goal

difference in the division and only third-bottom Bolton have

conceded more goals. “I wouldn’t put it down as unacceptable,” he

said of his side’s display. “I would agree the third goal is poor

but to come to a place like this and create 15 chances and get 10

on target should be enough to get you something from the game.”

Rovers were missing experienced defenders Ryan Nelsen, Chris Samba

and Michel Salgado as well as left-back Martin Olsson, all of whom

are injured. Kean, whose side have conceded three goals in their

last two matches, pointed to that as an area which had to be worked

on. “We always score goals and create chances so it is obvious what

we need to do is work hard on the defensive side and that is the

bit which is costing us at the moment,” he added. “We need to get

an established solid back four like we did for the last nine games

of last season when we did not make any changes and got seven

results (two wins and five draws). “That is going to be the key,

getting the lads out of the treatment room and getting the back

four settled. “We have shown in the past we can rally and put

results together. “If you look at the stats there are only three

other teams in the Premier League that have got more points than

ourselves from a losing position. “Our lads never give up, and no

matter what the score was they kept coming and kept creating

chances (against Stoke). I never felt as if we couldn’t get back in

the game at any stage.” The first half was an uninspiring affair

with the only bright spot Jermaine Pennant’s inch-perfect

28th-minute free-kick for Rory Delap, who was poorly marked by Gael

Givet. Rovers should have equalised a minute into the second half

but Mauro Formica completely missed his kick four yards out after

all the hard work had been done by Ruben Rochina who dribbled his

way to the byline before backheeling the cross. Just before the

hour Glenn Whelan, with the help of a deflection off Scott Dann,

drilled home his first goal since February 2010 and record signing

Peter Crouch put the result beyond doubt with an angled finish from

Marc Wilson’s ball over the top. Rochina added a late consolation

but it was not enough to prevent Stoke putting an end to a run of

four consecutive league defeats. The minimum Stoke manager Tony

Pulis demands is 100% effort and Delap, who scored his second goal

of the season, admitted the players had looked at ways to improve.

“Everyone is mucking in and that is why we have been pretty

confident we could get out of this run we’ve been in,” he said. “We

haven’t been good enough, we haven’t done what we do well enough.

“If you don’t do that in this league you will get beaten and that

was proved over the last few games. “We’ve done it in 15 to

20-minute packages but yesterday we did it for 85 to 90 minutes.

“It is great we have managed to get the win but we know there is a

lot more work to be done. “There is no point in getting the win and

then going back into the performances from the last couple of

weeks. “We have to go on and be better.”