Belfast Telegraph

Kean relieved to survive 'wobble'

Blackburn boss Steve Kean was relieved to see his team emerge triumphant against QPR at Ewood Park after they almost squandered a three-goal lead.

Rovers looked set for a comfortable afternoon at the interval, with strikes from Ayegbeni Yakubu (15), Steven Nzonzi (23) and a Nedum Onuoha own goal (45) putting them firmly in the driving seat. The visitors mounted a fightback, however, with substitute Jamie Mackie netting twice to set up a tense finale.

But the hosts, who were beaten 7-1 by Arsenal last weekend, managed to hold on for the 3-2 win and Kean said: "I felt the first-half display was really exceptional and I think we put to bed the disappointment of the Arsenal game a little bit."

He added: "We worked really hard this week on trying to get pressure on the ball and making sure we could hold the high lines, and I thought in the first half we were brilliant."

A major positive for the hosts was the sight of top scorer Yakubu, who had been banned for three games following his sending-off against Fulham, back playing and notching his 14th goal of the season.

"The Yak gets a goal like that and all of a sudden the confidence flows back through the side," Kean said. "It goes to two and then to three, and then he hits the bar. I think he has shown what a good player and goalscorer he is. We have missed him and we are glad he is back."

QPR's former Blackburn manager Mark Hughes felt his side's first-half display was unacceptable and as bad as any he could remember from players under his guidance.

"You can't give any Premier League team a three-goal head start," Hughes, who took charge of the R's in January, said. "We were very poor in that first half. The first 45 minutes were arguably the poorest we have been since I came through the door here and arguably of any of the teams I have been involved with to be honest.

"It's understandable in that we haven't been through the door for any great length of time, but there shouldn't be a difference in performance of that size (between the first half and second half).

"The first half wasn't acceptable, although we will take a little bit of comfort from the second half because I thought we then completely dominated proceedings."

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