MANCHESTER United boss Alex Ferguson believes a lot of Blackburn Rovers supporters will be regretting the criticisms aimed at Steve Kean earlier this season.

Ahead of United’s Ewood Park visit on Monday, Ferguson has championed Kean’s attempts at keeping Rovers in the Premier League – insisting he now deserves “100 per cent praise from everyone”.

Rovers entertain the league leaders still just three points clear of the drop zone and, with Bolton, QPR, Wolves and Wigan all in action before they play, could yet be back in the bottom three before United’s visit.

Having come under heavy fire earlier in the season, Kean’s Rovers have picked up in recent months, including a stunning 3-2 win at Old Trafford.

“I am sure a lot of them are saying to themselves, ‘I wish I hadn’t done that’,” said Ferguson of the Blackburn fans.

“Things can change. You have to dig in and not let it get to you. Now no-one is talking about fans having protest marches.

“He has held his dignity very well and deserves 100 per cent praise from everyone, including his own supporters.

“He has shown his mettle in times when it was difficult for him.”