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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 16 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Mar 18, 2011

Kean: Rovers can stay up with 42 points

Blackburn manager Steve Kean has identified a 42-point safety target as Rovers return to action after a two-week break when they host fellow Premier League strugglers Blackpool on Saturday.

It has been a testing period for Rovers, who have taken just one point from the last 15, while owners Venky's were forced to deny Kean's job was under threat as the club have found themselves dragged into a relegation battle.

Rovers suffered a last-minute defeat against Fulham last time out and sit just one point above the drop zone, one place above Blackpool courtesy of a slightly better goal difference.

Kean described the game against the Seasiders as "massive'', with his team set to face the likes of Birmingham and West Ham before travelling to Wolves on the final day.

Kean said: "I still think 42 is what it will take. We've got a couple of teams away that are in the same situation, so it's important we get points on the board.

"We'll go back to being on track for a top-10 finish with the very same amount of points as we did last year with eight games to go if we can get a win so it's massive.''

Following the Fulham game reports suggested Kean had been summoned to a meeting with chairman Anuradha Desai in London but Venky's dismissed the claim and insisted the Scot's position is safe. Kean, though, insists he had not been concerned.

"It was helpful because I don't see it as a vote of confidence,'' he said. "It was a reaction to an allegation that there was a meeting that took place and the good thing from our point of view was that the newspaper that printed that article put a retraction in and apologised because their information, wherever it came from, was inaccurate.

"I think it was off the back of that that Mrs Desai put out the statement - only as a reaction as opposed to it coming from nothing. I'm very grateful that she put that out but, as I say, it was only a reaction.

Ian Holloway's team have taken just four points from the last four games and have conceded seven goals in the last two. While conceding Charlie Adam presents a threat, Kean believes Rovers need to nullify the team as an attacking force.

"I've seen Blackpool a number of times this season and the way they play is refreshing because they certainly go after teams and they try and attack,'' Kean said. "I think that's Ian's philosophy that they want to go and score goals and they certainly done that against a lot of the bigger clubs so I think it'll be a game where there's a lot of goalmouth action at both ends of the pitch.

"We've worked really hard on making sure we can minimise their attacking strengths and their key players and we've highlighted a few areas that we think we can exploit.''

Kean believes Rovers' home form is paramount, with the team having lost just four times at Ewood Park this season while conceding only 11 goals - a statistic bettered only Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.

He added: "The expectation is that we have to go on and continue our good home form. It puts pressure on the players but they're top quality players and sometimes they'll respond better when they're under pressure than when you're in a comfortable position.''

Kean also hopes his side can channel the emotions from their late defeat against Fulham where Gael Givet was sent off at the death for dissent.

"It's been a long time since the Fulham game and hopefully we can carry forward the frustrations we all felt in the dressing room after the game because we did really well and didn't manage to get anything from it through difficult circumstances in the last few minutes of the game.''

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