Born-again Blackburn Rovers are showing desire for Premier League salvation
Blackburn 2 Norwich 0
Monday 23 April 2012
David Dunn has seen many things in 11 seasons with his hometown club – relegation, promotion, a League Cup win – but reckons achieving survival this term would beat the lot, given the turmoil surrounding Blackburn.
"There just seems to be unrest everywhere you look," said the Rovers midfielder, who suggested in Saturday's programme notes that "it might require a helping hand from the big man upstairs" to save them. Yet it was less divine inspiration than some big performances from men down on the Ewood Park pitch that rekindled their survival hopes against Norwich City. With forwards Yakubu and Junior Hoilett shrugging off injuries to start, and Gaël Givet and Bradley Orr playing on after half-time painkilling injections, Blackburn's players showed a commitment to the cause that belied the off-field problems as they ended a run of five straight losses.
Blackburn manager Steve Kean said: "You have to show bravery, you have to show courage, you have to back each other up, like we did today. Probably more important, you have to show that you're a group of players who don't want to come off the pitch."
This on-field unity contrasted not only with the mood in the stands – on another afternoon of protests against club owners Venky's and Kean himself – but also in the previous weekend's surrender at Swansea when, in Kean's words, defender Givet was not in the right frame of mind to feature. On Saturday the Frenchman earned the sponsors' man-of-the-match award, though there were other strong candidates, notably Hoilett, who lit up the day with a spectacular second.
Blackburn, three points adrift in 18th, must still visit Tottenham and Chelsea while hosting Wigan yet Kean pointed to their New Year's Eve win at Old Trafford as reason to believe. "It gives you experience, it gives you belief that you can go to tough away grounds where nobody expects you to get something and you can do, if you have a good game plan and you have a good bunch – and I've got both." On Saturday, at least, this was the case.
Booked: Blackburn Dunn. Norwich Howson. Man of match Hoilett.
Referee K Friend (Leicestershire). Attendance 23,218.
Latest in Sport
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Manchester United latest: Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing Angel Di Maria fails to improve
Arsenal: Arrival of Calum Chambers and David Ospina puts Arsène Wenger's spending past £50m
Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali confirmed as champion as he puts Italy back on the map with triumph
- 1 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 2 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia