ROOKIE Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean might be new to management, but already he’s showing he has that ability of so many managers in being able to see the game from a completely one-eyed perspective.
His side were played off the park by Sunderland on Saturday and, had the Black Cats really had their shooting boots on, the Lancastrians could have lost by a landslide.
Not that Kean saw it that way.
“It was tough to take,” he said.
“The reaction of my lads in the dressing room and myself afterwards would tell you that we didn’t think there was three goals in it.”
When Steve Bruce had that quote repeated back to him, he smiled: “Steve’s right, it was never a three-niller – it should have been a six-niller!”
But perhaps Kean had a point when he drew attention to the fact that had El-Hadji Diouf managed to put away a sitter just before half-time, a 2-1 scoreline at the break might have made the second half a lot more interesting.
“It was all about fine margins,” said the 43-year-old Glaswegian.
“If we had got back into the game with that chance then we could have settled a bit more and put a little bit of pressure on Sunderland.
“It’s fine margins at this level.
“We were disappointed with Sunderland’s first goal because it took a wicked deflection.
“The second goal was a poor one from our point of view, too, because the cross came in far too easily. But, in the second half, we played well enough and were trying to get at Sunderland.
“Had we had that Diouf goal, we might have made a real fist of it.
“Against West Brom the other week, we were clinical in front of goal and won comfortably. Had we been the same against Sunderland we would have seen a much closer game.”
It’s early days, but the signs are that Kean now has everything to do to stop Rovers’ season slipping away.
Their performance should have set alarm bells ringing, even though, in fairness to them, they were without nine squad players on the day.
The sacking of Kean’s former boss Sam Allardyce has angered a lot of Premier League managers as well as Blackburn’s players. Bruce took the unusual step of dedicating Sunderland’s victory to Allardyce, who he had spoken to on the morning of the game.
And Rovers’ new Indian owners do not seem to be helping the inexperienced boss, with ludicrous talk of challenging for a top-six spot.
We will find out what Kean is made of in the next few months, but, although he cut a somewhat indecisive figure on the touchline during the game, he is backing himself to succeed.
“I’ve got no problem with Steve Bruce’s comments about Sam Allardyce,” he shrugged.
“I’ve been in the game a long time, I’ve been an assistant a long time and I’ve been in the Premier League a long time, so all this hasn’t fazed me.
“The fact I haven’t done the job before doesn’t strike me as that much of an issue.
“Having new owners has put us in the position where we don’t have to sell anyone and, on top of that, we can look to bring in three or four players to strengthen the squad in January.
“If we can get a few players in and then a few players back from injury, hopefully we’ll be set for a chance of finishing in the top half, which has to be our first task.
“The owner wants eventually to be challenging for a European place – next season rather than this season.
“We want to finish in the top 10 this season and build a squad in the summer capable of challenging for the top six.”