Blackburn manager Steve Kean admitted he had "forfeited" their Carling Cup quarter-final against Cardiff ahead of crucial league games.
Kean's side are bottom of the Premier League and after his side's 2-0 defeat he said: "We are in a position where we have forfeited going through and having the chance to reach a cup final.
"We have games against sides within touching distance of us in the league.
"We need to treat those games as cup finals."
Kean made five changes to his side for the trip to south Wales, electing not to risk the defensive trio of Christopher Samba, Martin Olsson and Michel Salgado, who have all had hamstring injuries.
He added: "They could have played at a push and if we had been in a slightly different position in the league. We have Swansea coming up so I made five changes and left those lads behind.
"We wanted to make sure we have those lads available for Saturday. Saturday has to kick-start our season."
After a bright start, Rovers were outplayed by their Championship hosts and, while Kean was disappointed with their display, he felt he was right to make changes.
Kean commented: "It is a big disappointment. They were on the back foot to start, we had half-chances and pinned them back.
"But then the confidence starts back up for them when they scored because they're at home where they've been good. It gives everyone a spark."
A section of Blackburn fans have called for Kean, who signed a new contract last week, to be sacked and have staged a series of protests.
And the travelling support made no secret of their dissatisfaction at their cup exit with chants of "Kean out" ringing round the ground.
But Kean, who will meet with club owner's Venky's today to discuss potential January transfer targets, insists their disapproval does not affect him.
He said: "It's never nice when the fans are negative but, when you are focused on the game, it's something you put to the back of your mind. It doesn't affect me.
"We all want the same things. We all want the club to win the game. The fans are frustrated but we all need to stick together."