Blackburn manager Steve Kean sets sights on final


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The Independent Football

Blackburn boss Steve Kean backed his players to go all the way to the Carling Cup final after seeing off Newcastle in a dramatic fourth-round tie at Ewood Park.

Rovers eventually triumphed 4-3 in extra-time to inflict a first defeat of the season on Newcastle, and Kean insists his side can reach Wembley despite their struggles in the league where they remain bottom.

Kean said: "Why not - and I said that to the players before the game.

"There's teams that have fancied it in the competition in years gone by and prospered and we fancy it. It also creates competition for places in the team in the league and we will give it a good go.

"We hope we get a nice draw now but we showed we wanted to get a victory in this match and would not let anything affect us."

Kean also hailed "warrior" Gael Givet after the French defender's winner in the final minute of extra-time.

He added: "Gael Givet encapsulates the whole spirit we have got here - he had a hamstring nick but would not come off.

"He's a warrior, he has put his head where other people wouldn't put their feet. He was fantastic."

Ruben Rochina and Yakubu had apparently put Blackburn on their way to a comfortable win, only for Danny Guthrie and Yohan Cabaye to hit stunning injury-time strikes to send the game into extra-time.

Morten Gamst Pedersen's free-kick then made it 3-2, Peter Lovenkrands equalised again from the spot and then came Givet's heroics.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew praised his players for refusing to give up the fight and queried some of referee Robert Madley's decisions - in particular rejecting a Demba Ba penalty claim and then awarding one against keeper Tim Krul.

Pardew said: "I don't like the tag of gallant losers but it was a fantastic effort and the fans would have appreciated the effort we have put in.

"It was a game that had some strange parts to it. We lacked urgency in the first half and I was a little disappointed but after that I couldn't fault my team, I thought we were excellent.

"To go 2-0 down was galling as we were bossing the game at that point and we had had a couple of [penalty] shouts. I thought when Demba turned (Chris) Samba it was a penalty, then at the other end Tim plays the ball and is penalised.

"But the players don't know when to give in, we kept going and two great hits got us back into the game, but tiredness cost us at the end.

"If we are going to go out of the Cup that's how it should be - giving it everything."