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Coyle criticises Blackburn fans for never giving Kean a chance

BOLTON boss Owen Coyle has accused the Blackburn fans of never giving under-fire manager Steve Kean a chance.

Kean came in for severe stick from the Rovers supporters during last night's 2-1 defeat by Bolton at Ewood Park, which left them four points away from safety and rooted to the base of the Premier League.

Even in a season when he has often bore the brunt of fan frustration, this was a new experience for Kean, with a further demonstration involving hundreds of fans taking place after the final whistle.

Manchester United striker Michael Owen and former England cricket captain Alec Stewart were among those watching to express their distaste at the abuse.

And Coyle delivered his own damning verdict.

"I do not think they have given Steve Kean any chance from the outset," said Coyle.

"They have their own reasons for that and, ultimately, those who want to be heard shout the loudest.

"Steve Kean is a terrific coach and manager. All you want is an opportunity.

"We have the best league in the world, but we don't have the 20 best managers in the world, someone has to fill the dreaded places where no-one wants to be.

"I hope he is given the time to do that because he is a genuinely nice person."

It seems a hopeless task for Kean, whose team now face Christmas trips to Liverpool and Manchester United.

Yet the Scot insists he still expects to be in charge for the St Stephen's Day trip to Anfield: "I expect to be here on Boxing Day," he said.

"I would be completely shocked if they (the owners) decide to replace me, yes."

It had been suggested a board meeting had been convened for later today.

Given Kean was nearly dismissed earlier this month, it was expected to sound the death knell for his time in charge at the Lancashire side. Yet the Scot insists no such meeting will be taking place.

"There is no board meeting," he said. "I spoke to the owners prior to the game and I spoke to them at length yesterday."

Coyle admitted he played on the home fans' anger before kick-off, telling his players if Bolton scored first, it would have a negative effect.

Mark Davies did exactly that after just four minutes. Nigel Reo-Coker added another half an hour into the contest, so it was no surprise that Blackburn were booed off at the interval.

And, although a much-improved second-half display brought a goal for Yakubu, Rovers could not force another.

"I was disappointed with our first-half performance," said Kean.

"We never really got started and let Bolton dictate the play.

"I hope I can win the fans over but I can only do that by winning games."