Sir Alex Ferguson condemns criticism of Steve Kean by Blackburn fans

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Ferguson praises Kean dignity

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has condemned Blackburn fans for their treatment of boss Steve Kean.

Supporters barracked Kean non-stop during Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by Bolton.

"I have never seen anything as bad," said Ferguson. "For goodness sake, give the lad a break."

Meanwhile, Kean said he remained willing to meet fans, but warned: "At the game it was pretty vicious so it would have to be in an environment which was, first and foremost, safe."

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Kean heartened by support from managers

He added: "I have to take direction from other people as far as health and safety, and making sure that if we do anything like that it is in the proper environment.

"My phone's been going hot all week with people phoning with messages saying 'Hang in there'.

"No disrespect to local MPs or local journalists or ex-players, but when you've got vastly experienced managers that are phoning up and saying under the circumstances you're doing a marvellous job, then I'll listen to them."

Tottenham's Harry Redknapp, Everton's David Moyes and Newcastle's Alan Pardew are other top-flight managers to criticise the behaviour of the Blackburn fans.

They all believe Kean is being harshly treated.

Ferguson added: "It doesn't say a lot for society. I feel for the lad. I tried to phone him but he probably quite rightly had his phone switched off."

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, whose side face Blackburn at Anfield on Boxing Day, admits the situation his former club find themselves in is "sad".

"I was at Blackburn for three or four years and it was a great place for me to go and work," said Dalglish.

"There were some smashing people that were in charge of the club at that particular moment in time and I would have never foreseen the situation they are in.

"They are under a lot of pressure and the frustration is understandable in many ways, but I don't think it is helpful and I think it is sad really that it has come to that - but that is the way it is.

"I think it is unfortunate that as a manager you know that results are going to count and if you don't get them then you are running the risk of getting your P45.

"Results aren't purely down to what the manager does, he needs support from the players, owners and certainly the crowd."

Moyes walked out of Tuesday's match in protest at the way the Rovers supporters had behaved.

Pardew, who worked with Kean at Reading, said he believed that the Rovers fans were damaging their side's chances.

The League Managers' Association said the reaction of fans was "unacceptable".

Kean has struggled to win over the Blackburn faithful since he succeeded Sam Allarydce a year ago.

There has been increasing speculation about Kean's position following Blackburn's poor start to the season, although he insisted after defeat on Tuesday that he does not expect to be sacked.

An LMA statement read: "The aggression and abuse over recent weeks has stepped well beyond the mark."

Redknapp described the supporters' behaviour as "horrific".

However, ex-Rovers striker Kevin Gallacher told BBC Sport that Kean's position had become "untenable", while former Home Secretary Jack Straw has added his voice to those calling for Kean to be sacked.

Blackburn fans are also unhappy at what they claim is a lack of leadership from Venky's, the club's owners, from India.

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