Blackburn V Chelsea at Ewood Park : Match Preview
Pedersen predicts tough time for Chelsea.
Morten Gamst Pedersen believes Ewood Park will be a tough place for Chelsea to change their fortunes as Blackburn have rediscovered their "fighting spirit".
Andre Villas-Boas' side slumped to a 5-3 home defeat against Arsenal on Saturday before they were held to a disappointing draw by Genk in the Champions League. Both Chelsea and Blackburn have added distractions off the pitch, with some Rovers fans still protesting for the sacking of manager Steve Kean, while the Blues have been the focus of media attention in the wake of the racism allegations against John Terry.
However, Pedersen is confident Blackburn's luck is about to change after some strong performances. Rovers ended Newcastle's unbeaten start to the season in their 4-3 Carling Cup win before a stoppage-time penalty denied them victory over Norwich in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.
"We have to take the positives and look forward," the central midfielder said. "All last week we played three good games against Tottenham, Newcastle and Norwich and probably should have a few more points on the table.
"If you work hard over a season it will even out. It's about time now. It's different if you play a poor game and don't get anything but when you're playing well and you actually know that something's going on.
"We're improving in training, people are fresh and the fighting spirit is there. "It's going to be an interesting game on Saturday because we are going to be a tough team to beat at Ewood. "You know they've had a tough week as they lost to Arsenal at home so they'll want to bounce back. "We need the points and we want to show everyone at Blackburn Rovers what we are made of. "We beat Arsenal, we beat Newcastle at home, we had a good game against Tottenham as well so I think Chelsea know it's going to be a tough game."
The Norway international denied protests by a section of Blackburn fans, who are demanding for Kean to go, have affected the team. "Our football has spoken for itself in the last week and the last few weeks," Pedersen said. "Everyone who has been on the pitch has shown commitment to Blackburn and worked hard."
Andre Villas-Boas has accused Blackburn fans of showing a lack of respect to Steve Kean. Rovers boss Kean has faced a series of protests calling for his head this season and there looks set to be another one during the club's latest home game. Chelsea have had problems with their own supporters in recent days following a successful revolt against Roman Abramovich's plans to buy the freehold of Stamford Bridge and the disgraceful taunting of Anton Ferdinand by some fans during Wednesday night's Champions League game at Genk.
The Blues have also had to contend with the John Terry racism inquiry which looks set to drag on and more than one Football Association fine. On top of all that, back-to-back Barclays Premier League defeats have left the Londoners nine points behind leaders Manchester City. So a trip to a club who are arguably in just as much turmoil after winning only one league game all season could be the ideal tonic. But Villas-Boas said: "It would be wrong to think like that. "Blackburn are a team that are going through ups and downs in terms of emotions - losses and draws at home; a public that have shown a bit of disrespect for their manager. "Steve is my friend and I have high respect for what he's done. "It's been going emotionally up and down at Blackburn. "When a team is like that, you know the team can put up a proper challenge. We have to be up to our best again."
Villas-Boas admitted Rovers fans had the "right to an opinion" but questioned whether it was a fully informed one. He added: "The owners and Steve live every day with that squad and know what they are capable of. This is not available to the fans. "There is belief in that squad that they can turn things around. "Their run in the Carling Cup shows that. I believe that he can do a good job. "Of course, managers are always questioned by the results.
"That's fair in a business where people want to be successful. But I believe they are on the right track." Villas-Boas believes the same about his own Chelsea project as he bids to prevent his side's recent slump becoming a full-blown crisis. The Blues have not lost three Premier League games in a row since 1999 and failure to win on Saturday could see them drop out of the top four.
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