Samba performance music to Kean’s ears

Steve Kean paid tribute to Chris Samba after the Blackburn defender’s man of the match display against West Ham earned his side a 1-1 draw.Blackburn looked to be heading for a crucial victory in their hunt for Premier League survival when Jason Roberts scored early on, but Thomas Hitzlsperger salvaged a point for West Ham.

But it would have been a whole lot harder for Rovers had Samba not been on his game – the defender was imperious as his side grabbed a point.

“That’s Chris for you, he was absolutely fantastic for us,” Kean said. “Unfortunately for us we lost Phil Jones with a back spasm but Chris formed a great partnership at the back with Gael Givet.”

“We tried to nullify the West Ham threat and we did that well. Overall, it is a good team performance and it takes us that one step closer to survival.”

Kean, who succeeded the sacked Sam Allardyce earlier this season, admitted the 1-1 draw at Upton Park had taken its toll.

“It drains you – and we are disappointed especially after taking the lead,” he said.

“I felt we had the game by the scruff of the neck and we needed that second goal for some leeway. In the end West Ham put us under a lot of pressure and they have a lot of impressive players.”

“In the end though, it’s another point closer.”

West Ham manger Avram Grant was left to lament missed opportunities, with Robbie Keane and Demba Ba missed guilt-edge chances.

“Maybe that was the story of our season. We were on top of the other team, created a lot of chances, and had good moments in the last 10 minutes. But we didn’t score,” Grant said.

“They didn’t score, but I wish I knew why, but I cannot kill them.”

“Most of our games this season have been like this. I cannot question the effort and I will not criticise the players for their effort.”

With two games left the focus for West Ham now turns to their next game against Wigan, Grant stated: “If we win against Wigan, we’ll be above them. This is the most important game. Two games before the end. We need to win.”