Saturday 16 December 2017

Kean blames Rovers' sales for leaving club on brink of relegation

Mark Ogden

Steve Kean believes the squad overhaul at Blackburn Rovers has contributed to the club being on the brink of relegation from the Premier League tonight.

Failure to defeat fellow strugglers Wigan at Ewood Park would lead to the 1995 champions being relegated to the Championship after 11 years in the top flight.

With a series of experienced players leaving and being replaced by youngsters since Kean succeeded the sacked Sam Allardyce in December 2010, the Blackburn manager -- whose squad reshaping has been a result of financial restrictions imposed by Indian owners Venky's -- fears the changes may have happened too quickly.

"I didn't expect it to come to this, but there has been a big transition in players," Kean said. "We have promoted a lot of the younger ones, maybe a little bit earlier than they would have played, but we have great players for the future and we have to make sure we stay in this league.

"We find ourselves in a position like last year, when we had to beat Wolves on the last day of the season. We have lost a lot of players since then, Jermaine Jones, Phil Jones, Brett Emerton, Chris Samba. There's lots of experience that has left."

Rovers have lost six of their last seven games, but Wigan manager Roberto Martinez insists his team will be equally motivated as they chase the win that will secure their Premier League survival.

"When you have the number of points Blackburn have got, you look at it as needing to win, but we need to win as well," Martinez said.

"When you go into the last two games of the season, we know well that the last six points can change your position. There are two finals and you need to approach them in that manner, because the points you earn can make up 10pc of your overall total. "

Blackburn v Wigan, Live, Sky Sports 1, 8pm

Irish Independent

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