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Kean demands Rovers improvement
Published : 13 Apr 2012 01:17:11Rss feed
Blackburn manager Steve Kean is demanding a huge improvement from his side as the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League reaches a critical stage.
Back-to-back wins last month over bottom club Wolves and Sunderland appeared to have eased the pressure on Rovers, who have been locked in a season-long struggle near the bottom of the table.
But four straight defeats, the latest a 3-2 home loss to 10-man Liverpool on Tuesday, has left the former champions in deep trouble ahead of Saturday's visit to Swansea.
Their plight was not helped on Wednesday when fellow strugglers Wigan, who produced one of the surprises of the season by defeating leaders Manchester United, and Queens Park Rangers both won.
With five games remaining, Kean's side are three points from safety and lie next-to-bottom in the table.
Blackburn's defensive failings - they have managed just two clean sheets in the league all season - has cost them dearly, and Kean said: "We need to close the back door and defend better.
"We need to go into every game looking to improve. But we can't go into games thinking we need to score four or five goals to win."
Two of Blackburn's remaining five games are away to clubs chasing a place in next season's Champions League - Tottenham and Chelsea.
That has made the need to defeat Swansea, who have also lost the last four league games, even more important.
Kean could include Anthony Modeste, the 23-year-old forward on loan until the end of the season from Bordeaux, after Blackburn successfully appealed the three-match ban given to the player after his sending-off at West Brom last Saturday.
It was reduced to one match, which means it was served by him missing the Liverpool game.
Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has told his players not to ruin the campaign by getting sucked into a late relegation battle.
The Welsh club have won an army of new admirers for their entertaining style since winning promotion from the Championship last season.
Rodgers has even been touted for the Manager of the Year award, but his team's campaign has taken a turn for the worse after failing to take a point from the last four matches.
Swansea boast a 10-point safety cushion with five games remaining and appear to have done enough to stay up.
But Rodgers is demanding his side see off Rovers in south Wales to make absolutely sure of sealing their Premier League place next term.
Rodgers, whose side lost 3-0 at relegation-threatened QPR on Wednesday, said: "We still have a lot of work to do.
"It's been a real mental test of our players right up until now and they've passed that.
"But we need to get over the line. We're still not there on 39 points with five games to go so we need to make sure that we finish off the season.
"We're not out of it by any means at all. We're not good enough to just coast through games and we need to be full tilt every single game.
"What I've said to the players is that we're not mathematically safe, but we need to show all of the qualities that we've shown up until now.
"If we can do that, then we'll finish well."