Kean happy for fans as Rovers move up

Blackburn 3-1 Fulham

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The Independent Football

Steve Kean, the Blackburn manager, has received little credit this season after his side's few victories, which include memorable wins over Arsenal and Manchester United, with the results being attributed to poor performances from the opposition, but the Scot deserves praise for seeing his side through to three points on Saturday.

In a difficult week which saw his assistant Paul Clement leave for Paris St-Germain, and his captain Christopher Samba state his desire to leave the Lancashire club, Kean could have been forgiven for thinking the worst when his top scorer Yakubu was sent off after only 23 minutes of their encounter against Fulham for a high challenge.

"I really expected a yellow card to be shown but the referee decided to use the letter of the law," said the disappointed Kean.

The Scot is also adamant that Samba, who missed the game through injury, will not be leaving the club. "He's not for sale. We've rejected a bid from one club, and he's still our player. He texted in ill on Friday, but should be back for the next game."

Despite playing three-quarters of the game a man light, Rovers picked up a vital win thanks to goals from Morten Gamst Pedersen, David Dunn and Mauro Formica, with Damien Duff's strike for Fulham a mere footnote.

With the match still goalless when Yakubu departed the action, other managers would have reinforced their midfield, but instead Kean withdrew the defensively minded Radosav Petrovic, replacing him with David Goodwillie. That allowed Dunn to continue his role of stifling Fulham's main creative threat, Danny Murphy.

"We had to reassemble and be quite bold by keeping someone on Murphy, so I think it was good discipline from the team. It showed good spirit and the togetherness of the team, and good football intelligence from the lads on the pitch," Kean said.

The result sees Blackburn move out of the relegation zone for the first time since September, with Kean hoping the performance will inspire his team to move away from the foot of the table. He explained: "Psychologically, to come out of the bottom three with a good performance is great for us. I felt the fans have been excellent recently but we've failed to deliver for them, so I was pleased for them."

The Fulham manager, Martin Jol, will be concerned that his team have won only once away from home in the League all season, and said he was disappointed with his side's inability to cope with Blackburn's 10 men.

"Of course, they scored in the right moments," Jol said, "but they tried to break on us all the time and we could not do anything about it, to close them down and keep them in their own half."

Bookings: Blackburn, Pedersen. Fulham, Senderos

Sent off: Blackburn, Yakubu (23)

Man of the match: Givet

Referee: A Taylor (Cheshire)

Attendance: 18,003.