Team spirit will maintain Premier League status of Blackburn Rovers
"There are still several hurdles to negotiate in order to remain in the Premier League"
March 16th, 2012
The victory at Molineux last Saturday represented more than just the three points; it sent a message to Bolton, QPR, Wigan and Wolves that Blackburn Rovers are united in their quest to remain in the Premier League. The reaction from the players, coaches and fans at the full-time whistle was wonderful and demonstrated that Steve Kean has galvanised his players.
I must admit to turning on Kean after the shambolic home defeat to Bolton in December and it is with great pleasure that I now apologise for this criticism. The sale of Christopher Samba appears to have strengthened the bond between the players and seeing David Dunn and Kean sharing a joke after the game on Saturday was wonderful. The Scot has endured endless criticism from the fans this season but has maintained his belief in the young players and has finally stamped his authority on his team.
Similarly to what has happened at Chelsea the club needed to get rid of the disruptive elements within the club. I was a little sad to see the back of Samba but he served the club well and should have been sold as soon as he declared his unhappiness at the club. It enabled the club to make a significant profit on a player who was bought for £450,000 five years ago.
This season has seen the introduction of Grant Hanley, Adam Henley and Jason Lowe into the first team on a regular basis and they have thrived. The additions of Scott Dann and particularly Yakubu have been inspired and the Nigerian’s goals have been nothing short of inspirational. It has been a few seasons since Blackburn have had a real goal scorer and Kean deserves significant praise for bringing him to the club.
I had maintained that I wanted Kean to be given time to assemble his own squad and finally he is there. He has bought astutely and very wisely it must be said. Considering he hasn’t had much money to play with keeping the club in the Premier League would be a phenomenal achievement considering where we were a few months ago.
When I watched us playing earlier in the season there was enough to demonstrate we had the ability to remain in the league but there was not enough team cohesion. Too many games lost from winning positions and goals conceded late in games suggested fitness levels were not at the levels expected but this again has significantly improved in recent months. Indeed, the key factor in the rejuvenation of this side was the victory at Old Trafford where the side refused to accept being pulled back to two all and drove forward for the three points.
Whilst issues still remain at the club with the Venky’s in charge at least the performances on the pitch have improved. The credit must go to Steve Kean who has invigorated the players and made them a cohesive unit once more. There are still several hurdles to negotiate in order to remain in the Premier League but a pre-requisite for this is team spirit and Blackburn appear to have that in abundance.
Words by Andy Hunter