A negative atmosphere added to a diabolical performance for this Boxing Day fixture down at Ewood Park. A game we would have fully expected to win under Sam Allardyce turned into a must win fight to stay adrift of the relegation battles.
With a few injuries to compensate for, Rovers started with an attacking line up, with no defensive midfielder in sight. Things did not start well. The first half was nothing to get exited about and went by in a blur of poor passing and a total lack of effort from most in blue and white halves. Only Salgado, Olsson, Emerton and Kalinic came away with any credit from this dire state of affairs.
Steve Kean seemed bereft of ideas and was outdone by the man in the opposite dugout. A total lack of passion and tactical awareness meant he was stood with his hands in his pockets throughout the game, whilst his opponent directed his team to what was a comfortable win. With at least four attacking options on the bench only one substitution was made by Kean in a desperate last ditch attempt to save the game. Too little too late.
Kean had no game plan. I know many criticised the style of play we used under the big man, but at least everyone knew their job. A total lack of movement and creativity lead to a flat performance. It took 57 minutes for a meaningful shot on goal for the home team, and Stoke`s ‘keeper was never greatly challenged.
Another couple of performance like this one and Kean will be gone. It has to happen. The Ewood faithful are already growing restless with chants of “There`s only one Big Sam” and “Love the Rovers, Hate Venkys”. Displays like this cannot continue.
Robinson – 6
Made a couple of good saves but nothing more. Average.
Salgado – 8
One of the only performances with any credit. Solid defensively and good going forward.
Hanley – 6
Did what he needed to do. No mistakes. Solid.
Nelsen – 6
Regained captaincy. Always hard to play centre back in 5 man defence. Never know who to mark!
Givet – 5
Few mistakes. Nowhere near the performances of old.
Emerton – 8
Worked as hard as any. Fully committed to the cause. Good going forward.
Dunn – 3
Unfit and a total lack of spark, needs to lose a few pounds. Many passes went astray.
Pedersen – 5
Nothing compared to his usual form this season. Expect better from the in-form midfielder!
Olsson – 7
The only one offering any movement, he got down the line several times to whip in a cross.
MB Diouf – 5
Looked good when on the ball but no movement meant he didn’t get many chances for an effort on goal.
Kalinic – 7
Held the ball up really well and worked hard. Had to try and create chances for himself due to the lack of creativity from the midfield. Had nobody to pass to when holding up play. He certainly would have benefited from more effort in the midfield region.
Hoilett – 6.5
Bright when he came on giving us an attacking outlet from midfield. Lacks the end product. A work in Progress
Kean – 1
Stood with his hands in his pockets all game doing nothing. Out of his depth.
Pulis – 7
Actively directed his team to what turned out to be an easy victory.