Rock-bottom Kean turns deaf ear to the boo boys

Stoke City 3 Blackburn Rovers 1: Stoke add to misery of defiant Blackburn manager with easy victory

Britannia Stadium

With the game hopelessly lost and the stadium echoing to cries that he would be sacked in the morning, a bird of prey settled on to the gantry not far from where Steve Kean was standing. Staffordshire does not do vultures but the hawk was symbolic enough.

However disastrous a result this was which leaves Blackburn bottom of the table, Kean will not be sacked in the morning. If some Blackburn fans had to be physically prevented from confronting him after the final whistle, the manager retains the support of the dressing room and, critically, its boardroom. However, his substantial pay rise, which was announced this week to astonishment within Ewood Park, cannot have been performance-related.

Kean is a manager whose language is as peppered with statistics as others are with expletives. However, statistically, averaging 0.8 points a game, he is the worst performing manager in the Premier League and unless there is a significant improvement in December it is hard to see how even Venky's support can continue. Given that one of the club's owners, Anuradha Desai, is due to stand trial on environmental charges over a property development in western India that carry a theoretical penalty of five years in prison, it might be argued that they have more pressing matters than Blackburn Rovers. However, the guarantees that Kean has already given his local paper that the club will not be relegated are already wearing painfully thin.

"Steve is a young manager and, if he wants to survive in this game, he has to learn to cope with abuse like that," said Tony Pulis after his Stoke side had convincingly halted a run of four successive defeats. Kean appears to be coping admirably with the vitriol from the stands that began after 12 seconds here; it is events on the pitch that appear to be spinning wildly beyond his control.

Stoke are slightly more sophisticated than their popular image but their recent sequence of results had forced them back to a primitive caricature of their game – the ball collecting air miles as it was lumped relentlessly into the November skies. The most naked physicality, however, came from Blackburn's Steven Nzonzi, who was fortunate not to be dismissed when his elbow was driven into Ryan Shawcross's face in the opening exchanges.

Retribution arrived when the Frenchman tripped Peter Crouch and, from Jermaine Pennant's free-kick, Rory Delap stole ahead of his marker, Gaël Givet, to head Stoke into a lead they only once looked likely to surrender.

That moment was minute 47 of what had been a limited contest. Kean's tortured time at Ewood Park has been notable for aborted bids for Robinho and David Beckham but Ruben Rochina, a graduate of Barcelona's La Masia academy, will count as a more lasting gift. Two minutes after the restart he glided past Pennant and then Crouch before backheeling across the face of Thomas Sorensen's goal. It deserved a better ending than Mauro Formica's miscue. Two fabulous left-footed drives earned a goal and a fine save from Sorensen but by then the fate of this match had already been settled. Glenn Whelan's finish from the centre of the D was spectacular after Matthew Etherington had pulled the ball back from the tightest of angles but Crouch was allowed to walk his way through the Blackburn defence for the third.

Whatever Kean's attempts to accentuate the positive – he said that only three teams had gained more points from losing positions than Blackburn, as if manoeuvring yourself into a losing position was some kind of achievement – nothing can disguise their catastrophic defensive deficiencies. When a number of black bin liners were blown across the pitch, they kept their formation better than Blackburn's back four had done all afternoon. Both were rubbish.

Stoke (4-4-2): Sorensen; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Pennant (Whitehead, 71), Whelan, Delap, Etherington; Walters, Crouch (Jones, 83).

Blackburn (4-4-2): Robinson; Lowe, Hanley, Dann, Givet; Rochina, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Hoilett; Formica (Roberts, 68), Yakubu.

Referee Mark Halsey.

Man of the match Rochina (Blackburn).

Match rating 6/10.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas