We'll all pull together after Samba's exit, says Blackburn Rovers manager (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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We'll all pull together after Samba's exit, says Blackburn Rovers manager
STEVE Kean believes everyone at Blackburn Rovers will now be pulling in the same direction after insisting he had no regrets over how the Chris Samba saga was handled.
Less than 24 hours after Samba’s departure to Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala, Rovers returned to the Premier League drop zone after a dismal 3-0 defeat at high-flying Manchester City on Saturday evening.
Kean had been adamant Samba was not for sale throughout the January transfer window despite the player’s determination to quit Ewood, even turning down two offers from QPR, but Rovers finally granted the player his wish once the English window was closed.
The timing of the sale leaves Rovers with just three senior centre backs for the Premier League run in but, despite seeing his still without a clean sheet all season, Kean insists at least now he knows all his squad are playing for the same cause.
Kean said: “From our point of view, Chris never withdrew his transfer request. He wanted to go, he made that quite public.
“On a positive side, now we know everyone we have in the dressing room wants to be here. We will all be pulling together.
“We wish Chris all the best, he was very vocal in public about wanting to leave and he’s got his wish. I hope he does really well out in Russia.”
Kean insisted he didn’t hold talks with Samba to try and talk him round, with the player having not featured since the start of January.
He said the player would have been welcomed back into the fold had he been prepared to apologise for his public comments, but Kean admits that was looking increasingly unlikely.
He said: “I’m sure with any manager or bunch of team-mates if somebody is genuine in their apology, they want to be back in the squad and apologise for their conduct then I’m sure everybody would have accepted Chris back in again.
“But he wanted to go and he’s left and we wish him the best – he was a great servant while he was here.
“The pivotal point was that Chris didn’t want to apologise, didn’t want to withdraw his transfer request and was very adamant that he wanted to leave and that played a big part of it.”
Samba’s departure, hot on the heels of Ryan Nelsen’s shock switch to Spurs, leaves Rovers short of defensive cover as they battle for their survival.
But, when asked if he regretted not selling his former skipper earlier, he was emphatic in his answer.
“Without telling the figure, the figure we got was different to the figure we were offered in January,” said Kean.
“We were strong in our stance to say that the bid that we got in the January window was undervalued for what we thought Chris was worth.
“He was the captain of our team, he was very experienced so we felt it was a derogatory offer and we refused it. We made a strong statement to refuse it.
“The offer we received now was substantial.”
Samba insisted that Anzhi’s ambition played a big part in his decision to move to Russia. The Dagestan club, who are owned by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, recently appointed Guus Hiddink as boss and have Samuel Eto’o in their squad.
“I see it as a new challenge,” Samba said.
“Everyone wants to work with a manager who has recognition like Hiddink. I want to try. Why not try?
“It’s a little club who wants to become a very big one in Russia.
“A very powerful owner who wants to transform the club, bring the club to greatness.
“He proved it in bringing in Eto’o and a manager like Hiddink.
“There are a lot of players who are going to come and add to the project I think.”