Alex Ferguson believes Blackburn fans will be regretting anti-Steve Kean protests

 

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Blackburn's fans must be regretting their vitriolic attacks on manager Steve Kean.

The Rovers manager has come in for some fearful stick at times this season.

David Moyes walked out of a pre-Christmas encounter with Bolton so disgusted was he at the treatment being meted out to his fellow Scot.

At that point, Kean's departure seemed inevitable.

Amazingly though, he not only stayed but prospered.

Not even the loss of skipper Christopher Samba has halted recent progress and of the five teams who have been sucked into the relegation scrap, Blackburn look most likely to survive.

"I am sure a lot of them are saying to themselves 'I wish I hadn't done that'," said Ferguson of the Blackburn fans.

"Things can change. You have to dig in and not let it get to you.

"Now no-one is talking about fans having protest marches.

"He has held his dignity very well and deserves 100% praise from everyone, including his own supporters.

"He has shown his mettle in times when it was difficult for him."

Improvement came immediately after that Bolton debacle, when Rovers followed up a draw at Liverpool by beating United at Old Trafford.

It was one of the most remarkable results in a season littered with staggering scorelines and is part of an impressive overall Blackburn record against United.

Indeed, United make the short journey up the M61 on Monday looking to improve a woeful return of just two wins on their last 11 visits, even if the latest failure was a triumphant one as Wayne Rooney's penalty in May earned the point that clinched a record 19th title.

Nevertheless, it is a strange statistic and one that contrasts sharply with their return against other derby foes, Wigan and Bolton.

"I couldn't answer why," said Ferguson.

"When Blackburn score first they make it difficult for you, so maybe the answer is to make sure we keep our noses in front."

In theory, United's chances of victory are assisted by having a clear week to prepare.

Other than the Easter programme it will be that way for the remainder of the campaign now all interest in cup competitions has come to an end.

But Ferguson does not feel comfortable with that.

Having watched Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich claim Champions League wins in midweek and a fascinating duel between Barcelona and AC Milan, he knows what he would prefer.

"We have been used to playing midweek games for so long that you do miss it," said the United boss.

"The players miss it too. Yes, we do get freshness but you can't have it all ways. We would rather be in the Champions League."

Ferguson has confirmed he will be selecting from the same squad that contested the nervy draw with Fulham as Rio Ferdinand has recovered from the back problem that triggered his early exit and Nani is still to return to training after missing four games with an ankle injury.

The aftermath of that 1-0 win has centred around the failure of referee Michael Oliver to award a penalty for Michael Carrick's clumsy last-minute challenge on Danny Murphy.

Patrick Vieira has tried to limit the fall-out from his controversial accusation yesterday that United benefited from major decisions.

Ferguson seemed to take that into account with his measured response, which contrasted sharply to the blistering volley of last week after Vieira's initial claim that Paul Scholes' abandoned retirement smacked of desperation.

"From the referee's position, I can see why he didn't give a penalty when Danny Murphy was brought down," said the Scot.

"The ball moved to the angle as Michael Carrick challenged him. From that position, it wasn't clear.

"It was a good claim but you could go through millions of things like that. City could have had a penalty against them at Stoke for a foul by Gareth Barry.

"Every club gets breaks here and there, you get good ones and bad ones.

"It evens itself out over the season, that will never change."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there