Belfast Telegraph

Kean backs Rovers for safety

Blackburn manager Steve Kean believes his side have the confidence to pull themselves well clear of the relegation zone and should now be targeting the teams above them.

A 2-0 win over Sunderland at Ewood Park moved Rovers six points clear of the bottom three and, having picked up their first clean sheet of the season last time out at Wolves, another shut-out meant Rovers kept consecutive clean sheets in the league for the first time since since August 2010.

"Not only have we got back-to-back wins but back-to-back clean sheets. We have worked hard on that aspect," Kean said. "I felt when we cleared that one off the line (by Martin Olsson) I was thinking 'give us a another clean sheet' and now we have some daylight."

He added: "I think we can catch (teams above) and with confidence and consistency in the team, which we can feel with abundance, we can start to look up.

"There is still a lot of football to be played and we looked at this month as an opportunity to put points on the board and possibly put a little bit of gap between the teams around us. Looking now at the last 11 games we have got 17 points and to keep chipping away and keep adding points is encouraging."

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill felt his side lacked intensity but partly blamed himself for not getting the players fired up.

However, he refused to blame the weekend's FA Cup quarter-final exertions in the 1-1 draw at Everton for their failings.

"It was disappointing, obviously. It lacked the intensity of Saturday's game and we just reached no height whatsoever," said the Black Cats boss. "I think we left a little behind at Goodison Park if I am completely honest and that might be a contributory factor - but it is not an excuse. That intensity at the end of the day comes from me so I have to look at that myself.

"First half we were sloppy in our passing and couldn't move the ball and should have done much better.

"Our best spell came just after they scored and could have equalised but overall we are disappointed."


From Belfast Telegraph