Kean praises N'Zonzi progress
Blackburn boss Steve Kean believes training ground work with Steven N'Zonzi is beginning to pay off.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 11/02/12 6:56pm
Blackburn boss Steve Kean believes training ground work with Steven N'Zonzi is beginning to pay off after the winger's performance against Queens Park Rangers.
N'Zonzi scored one and assisted another in Rovers' 3-2 win at Ewood Park on Saturday, as the hosts raced into a three-goal lead before half-time.
The 23-year-old Frenchman was the driving force behind Rovers' opening half display, along with Yakubu, and Kean is pleased to see N'Zonzi's tuition paying dividends.
"We've been practising with Steven," Kean told Sky Sports. "We think his technique is fantastic, the way he plays a cross-field pass and the way he can switch the play.
"But we've been working with him on the edge of the box - teaching him to get his head down and get over the ball, and he certainly did that today.
"We feel Steven is improving, it was a great goal and it put us further ahead in the game."
The win was exactly the response Kean was looking for following last weekend's embarrassing 7-1 defeat by Arsenal, and the return from suspension of Yakubu gave the side a much-needed lift.
"We've missed him," said Kean of the Nigerian. "If you can get service to him and we get a goal that puts us in front, then you see the difference in the confidence back in the side.
"I think the first-half performance put to bed the Arsenal performance last week and I think the way we started the game dictated the play, we didn't allow QPR a foothold in it.
"We're disappointed that we never got to four, Yak had a great chance which clipped off the bar. QPR fired some changes at us and we had a little wobble, but we got there in the end."
Despite conceding twice, Blackburn's centre-halves had to be at their best to fend off a second-half onslaught from QPR, who hit back with two goals from substitute Jamie Mackie.
Centre-back pairing Scott Dann and Grant Hanley combined heroically, and Kean singled out that latter for rising to the occasion in front of the eyes of Scotland manager Craig Levein.
"I thought Scott Dann and Grant Hanley were exceptional. For Grant it was probably a bigger game because he was unfortunate to find himself out of the side when Scott Dann came back a few weeks ago," said Kean.
"But he's come back in again and has made massive progress. Craig Levein was here watching him today and I'm sure he'll play for the national team and kick on."
Meanwhile, Kean confirmed that he does not expect Junior Hoilett's second-half injury to become a major concern.
He added: "It's not a big one. He got a stud to his calf and it wouldn't free up - it's just a little tightness."