Date:Tuesday January 25 2011
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I just wanted to say congrats to Steve Kean for the job he is doing at Rovers.
For most managers taking over a at a club, the hardest time for them is the transitional period in which the players need to get used to the new man in charge, the new man in charge needs to get used to the players, and if it's the managers first senior position as it is in Kean's case, he has to get used to a new role.
This period can prove difficult for even the most experienced of managers; take Houllier at Villa for example. Add to this the fact that our squad has recently been decimated by injuries and the pressure and intense scrutiny Kean has been under from both the fans and press alike, and you can safely say it would've been easy for him to buckle under the pressure and fail.
However, Steve Kean and the Blackburn players have now been through this phase and they have come out the other end looking a stronger and more solid unit than we have for quite some time.
What has impressed me the most is how quickly the players have adapted to Kean's free flowing, attacking style. Many (including myself) expected the team to take at least half a season to get used to this, but we play as if we have played this way for seasons.
This new style is exhilarating to watch - gone are the days of Samba pinging the ball aimlessly into the box to no avail, replaced instead with Olsson and Hoilett blistering down the wings, beating defenders and either hammering in quality crosses or taking the remaining defenders on to create golden opportunities for Santa Cruz et al.
Furthermore Chris Samba, instead of trying 'hit and hope' balls, is now picking the wingers out with incredible accuracy. When we get the ball now, instead of knowing that we will just punt it forward and hope it lands on one of our players heads, we collectively hold our breath in anticipation of what our skilful players, such as Hoilett, will delight us with next and more often than not they delight us with a bit of trickery resulting in at least a half chance.
Add into this that the the loan signings of Jones and Santa Cruz appear to be a stroke of genius. Jones immediately looks at home in the Premier League, he didn't look at all phased by the pace and ferocity of the English play style and he looks like he could be the one thing we have been missing for the past few seasons, a player who can break up the midfield and stop the opposition from bypassing our midfield.
They may not have been Kean's suggestions, but he is still the man who picks the team and it is Kean who will get the best out of both players. There's a sense of renewed optimism around Ewood Park, the fans actually want to be there now. Whereas under Allardyce I got the impression that a lot of fans were only turning up to the matches due to their loyalty to the club and the players. Looking at the games we have left; Tottenham, Newcastle, Blackpool, Birmingham, Man City, Bolton & Man Utd at home. Wigan, Villa, Fulham, Arsenal, Everton, West Ham and Wolves away.
I think we can realistically grab 23 more points and finish in the top 8. And if we do that will be a massive achievement for a team who, once Allardyce was sacked, many people tipped to go down. Kean has, thus far, proven many of his doubters wrong.
There's a long way to go and a lot of work to do before we can call Kean's appointment a success, but we are moving in the right direction and he is well and truly on his way to justifying Venky's decision to appoint a manager who had no prior management experience.
Date:Tuesday January 25 2011
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