Steve Kean moves to clarify Blackburn 'forfeit' comments

 

Blackburn manager Steve Kean has defended his team selection at Cardiff on Tuesday and claims his use of the word "forfeited" in relation to Rovers' Carling Cup exit has been misinterpreted.

The under-pressure Scot is keen to focus on getting his side out of the relegation zone after a miserable start to the season.

That prompted him to say, after the quarter-final 2-0 defeat to the npower Championship side: "We are in a position where we have forfeited going through in this competition and having the chance to reach a cup final."

That statement was leapt upon by the media but Kean has tried to clarify his words.

"My comments at the press conference were taken out of context," he told rovers.co.uk.

"There is absolutely no way that we would ever consciously forfeit a game, quite the opposite.

"What I was trying to say was that by not winning we had forfeited an opportunity to take another step towards a Wembley final.

"If my explanation or wording was vague or unclear then I regret that."

Kean insists cup competitions still have a significant position with Rovers but with the team bottom of the Barclays Premier League their priority lies elsewhere.

He made five changes to the team on Tuesday with the club's long-term future in mind.

"I want to stress that both of the major knockout competitions are massively important to us, but the Premier League will always be our primary objective," he added.

"I am a big fan of the Carling Cup and I refute in the strongest possible terms any suggestion we didn't treat the competition with due respect.

"However, I make no excuses for recognising the importance of Saturday's game with Swansea and basing my decisions accordingly - as the manager I have to assess every situation on its merits.

"I made changes at Cardiff more out of necessity than choice.

"We had Steven Nzonzi suspended, Junior Hoilett had to return home with a virus and I simply could not risk the fitness of Chris Samba, Martin Olsson or Michel Salgado.

"All three had been out for several games with hamstring problems and the medical advice indicated that to play them on Tuesday would represent a major risk to their long-term fitness.

"Had any of them felt a reaction they could have been sidelined until the New Year.

"Given our situation in the Barclays Premier League and a massive home game looming at the weekend against Swansea, it was a risk I just couldn't take.

"I would like to make it perfectly clear that I used a selection process at Cardiff similar to that of other rounds of the Carling Cup, a type of rotation system - used by many managers - whereby some fringe players were given the opportunity to show what they could do.

"We fielded seven full internationals and two under-21 internationals and the starting line-up was one I believed to be more than capable of getting a positive result."

PA

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