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3
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

Givet 'wasn't in right state of mind'

Blackburn manager Steve Kean revealed he had asked Gael Givet to play in his side's 3-0 defeat at Swansea, but that the Frenchman was "not in the right frame of mind" to do so.

• Swansea 3-0 Blackburn
• Rovers blog: The end is almost nigh

The defender has not featured for Rovers since his sending off against Arsenal in February, having fallen behind Grant Hanley and Scott Dann in the pecking order, and he was not even named on the bench despite travelling with the squad as Rovers slipped deeper into the relegation mire with an abject display at the Liberty Stadium.

Reports have suggested that the 30-year-old is looking to leave Ewood Park in the summer, and while Kean stopped short of saying Givet had refused to play, he said: "It was apparent when I spoke to Gael this morning he wasn't anywhere near in the right frame of mind to play today, whether starting or on the bench.

"I will speak to him again, and if he is in a better frame of mind then great, but he was nowhere near in the right frame of mind today. I can't get inside somebody's head, I can only say how much we and his team-mates need him.

"If you look at David Dunn with his hamstring, he is having injections to play. We need guys who want to play even if they are injured or their heads are not quite right, but I would rather keep the conversation between myself and Gael private.

"We need everyone to keep pushing as I believe we need two wins and a draw from our remaining games (to stay up)."

He added: "I said (to Givet), 'We need you to play today, we need you to start today' and he was nowhere near in the right frame of mind to do it."

Rovers remain 19th in the table after their fifth defeat in a row and are three points from safety with just four fixtures remaining, having played at least a game more than the sides around them.

And a bad day for Kean was compounded by injuries picked up by Hanley, Ayegbeni Yakubu and Junior Hoilett. Hanley's ankle problem could end his season, and will give his manager a major defensive headache in light of Givet's absence.

"We got a combination of a few injuries that really made it difficult for us," Kean said. "Grant Hanley got a really bad ankle injury, Yakubu is touch and go whether he will be back again this season as he has tendonitis in his knee, and Junior Hoilett felt his hamstring, so it was a bad afternoon all round.

"I think Grant Hanley could be out for the season, we are hopeful on Yakubu as we pulled him off just before it really got sharp, it was a dull ache and we made a decision to get him off because we thought that was going to go.

"It was the same with Hoilett, we got him off before it ruptured. I would say they have a chance (of being available before the end of the season) but Grant Hanley has almost no chance."

For Swansea, victory all but guarantees them a second season in the Premier League and ended a run of four successive defeats in fine style.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's seventh goal for the club, his first at the Liberty Stadium, opened the scoring with Nathan Dyer and a Dann own goal completing a comprehensive win.

Manager Brendan Rodgers praised the way his players had responded after the 3-0 defeat at QPR in midweek, and revealed a team meeting on Thursday had laid the foundations for a return to winning ways.

He said: "I felt I needed to reframe the players' minds. We had a team meeting and I wanted to take the anxiety out of them. I felt we were a little anxious on Wednesday and I wanted to frame their mindset and remind them how they have played all season.

"We talked about how we felt in that game because it was certainly different to what we had been used to seeing up to a month ago.

"I wanted to tell them how brilliant we had been. There had been a couple of doubters in recent weeks but that's modern life. I felt it was important to make sure that we knew how to control any distractions and cut out any negativity.

"I thought the players were brilliant today and they deserved the three points and just as importantly, our 13th clean sheet of the season."

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