Cardiff: Blackburn manager Steve Kean admits he was willing to accept his side's 2-0 League Cup quarter-final defeat at Championship club Cardiff because he wanted to keep his stars fresh for crucial Premier League matches.
Goals from Kenny Miller and Anthony Gerrard condemned the visitors to an embarrassing loss at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday as the Bluebirds reached the last four of the League Cup for the first time since 1966.
But under-fire Kean has seen his side sink to the bottom of the league table and he is far more concerned about avoiding relegation than reaching Wembley in the League Cup final.
With that in mind, he made five changes to his side for the trip to south Wales and also elected not to risk the defensive trio of Christopher Samba, Martin Olsson and Michel Salgado, who have all had hamstring injuries.
Rovers are without a win in five games and their travelling fans called for Kean to be sacked, but he is adamant he was right to make changes and save his first-choice line-up for Saturday's league meeting with Swansea.
"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," he said.
"Before the game I had a decision to make in as far as I wanted to push Samba, Olsson and Salgado, who never travelled for this game."
"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. We are in a position where we have forfeited going through in this competition and having the chance to reach a cup final."
"We now have games against sides who are within touching distance of us in the league and we need to treat those games as cup finals because we have not got through to the final of this competition."
Kean, who will meet with the club's Indian owner's Venky's on Wednesday to discuss potential January transfer targets, insists the fans' disapproval does not affect him and he is not concerned about a latest protest taking place before Saturday's contest against Swansea.
"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," he said.
"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."