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Kean refuses to quit Rovers

06 October 2011, 13:10

Pune - Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean has refused to quit despite growing calls from disgruntled fans for his dismissal and said he had a "special relationship" with the club's Indian owners.

Rovers, who were bought last year by Indian poultry firm Venky's, are languishing one place off the bottom of the English Premier League after losing five of their opening seven matches.

"I am not walking away," Kean told reporters on Wednesday night as his struggling team prepared for an exhibition match against local side Pune FC on Friday, the first English Premier League side to play on Indian soil.

The 4-0 defeat at home to Manchester City on Saturday prompted angry Rovers fans to demand the sacking of Kean, who replaced Sam Allardyce soon after Venky's bought the club.

Kean said the India trip would help his team re-group.

"I am very confident that we will be climbing the table and be in a very strong position at the end of the season," he said.

Kean, whose troubled spell at Rovers is his first stint as a manager, said he had met the club's owners after arriving in Pune on Wednesday.

"Venky’s, as a family, have shown great support to me and we share a special relationship," he said. "They have the passion to drive the club ahead.

"We know they are in for the long haul. They will drive us to the top end of the game. In four or five years, we shall be in European football.

"We might not be in the Champions League but maybe in the Europa League. The media in England laughed at this. But we believe we can do it."

Kean rubbished suggestions that the players would have been better off training in England during the break for international matches, rather than flying to India for an exhibition game.

"Probably at every ground there are certain fans who are unhappy," he said.

"Players go to different countries during the international break and have training camps.

"We will be training, participating in the Rovers Star programme and playing in India. I believe it is a good time. It's unfortunate that the international players won't experience this."

Rovers will be without at least nine regulars for Friday's match because they are on international duties for the Euro 2012 qualifiers and under-21 friendlies.

European football, especially the English Premier League, enjoys a growing following in India, which is regarded as a massive potential market for the sport.

The eastern city of Kolkata recently hosted a FIFA-sanctioned friendly between Lionel Messi-led Argentina and Venezuela, while Liverpool and Rovers are setting up youth academies in India.



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