John Eustace saw his team fall to a ninth defeat in 11 against Luton Town as sloppy defending cost Birmingham City at least a share of the spoils.
Blues went to halftime with 0-0, but began the second half with rhythm, it was enough for Carlton Morris to score the only goal of a quintessential championship game.
This is what was discussed after the game.
I think it was a fighting performance, there was no game at all in the first half, the group of players who were there gave one hundred percent, they were fully committed. Obviously goals change games, the way we started the second half was really disappointing. The only message we gave the guys at half time was to go out there and keep up the good work, play in their half and make sure we win our duels early.
We had chances to kick the ball out of play, chances to stop the cross. Those basic things are what are letting us down right now.
READ MORE: John Eustace makes demand for ‘shackles’ as Birmingham City are beaten by Luton
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You had a team talk in the second half, what were you emphasizing?
Just let go of the shackles, I think when we concede goals, it affects our confidence a little bit, you can see that. The boys have nothing to fear, we have a young group that wants to do well in this football club. I just said ‘Take off your shackles, you don’t have to worry, let’s get into good areas.’
We got into very good areas in the first half and we didn’t put the ball in the area. We need to be better in that last third, we have to take responsibility and I just said ‘Come on, we changed our form, just go and express yourself and let’s get back in the game.’
Do you see a team that is a little scared?
I don’t know. I think the way we started the game you can see the spirit, the togetherness and the fight that is there. We need to be better in that last third, I don’t know if the results are affecting the quality in that last third.
The most important thing is that we go back to basics, we keep working hard, we have to be more difficult to score. And in that final third we just need to be better. I don’t think it has anything to do with the 11 games, we’ve needed to be better in the last third all season. But what we have been is that we have been more difficult to play against.
We are missing key players, great players in the backbone of the team, we know that, that makes the difference, of course. The most important thing is that we come back on Monday and we have a really good week in training camp that we haven’t been able to do in the last three or four weeks and we get back to doing what we’re good at.
You’ve tried a few ways, aren’t you leaving any stone unturned in terms of finding the answer?
The players we have available we have to make sure our best players can play in a given system, the players we had today, fantastic 11 players, all high energy, to be competitive in a game against Luton which was the way. which we start with today. You can see we were very competitive in that first half. We tried a different form against Preston in a 4-4-2, with those kind of similar players, they dominated the midfield that day. We were very competitive today and another day we didn’t concede that botched goal.
Are you aware of the pressure on yourself?
You are welcome.
Trusty and Bielik forecast?
Both out with calf injuries, both out for a couple more weeks. We have to put things in perspective. You asked if I feel under pressure, I am here to help this football club to change, it is a very, very difficult job.
We knew it at the beginning of the season. You take five or six great players out of your team, it’s always going to be difficult. I am satisfied with the way things have gone. I am satisfied with the commitment of the players. It’s a 46-game season.
Obviously we need to change things with results, of course it’s a results driven business. But the most important thing is that these players stay connected to the fans, which I think they are, and we get through this difficult period together.
Is your toughest battle almost the ghosts that usually appear at this time of year?
This is my first job in the Championship, it is a learning experience, but it is one that I enjoy doing, it is one that I am very proud to be the manager of this football club. Nobody said it’s going to be easy, it’s going to be hard, of course it is. But we are fighters, I am a fighter and we keep going.
Two weeks ago we had two fantastic results, it showed that when we do things right we can change things. There are still 12 games left, we are ahead of last year’s point count. We have to put things in perspective, this is a 46-game season, we are in a difficult moment, we have a lot of injuries but that is not an excuse. We keep going, everyone who puts on the jersey is very committed, we know where we need to improve and we continue to work hard.
Rob Edwards thought the yellow card for Marc Roberts was lenient, what do you think?
Without thoughts, I have not seen him again. It was a good entry. The big guy on top (Morris) is very competitive and very physical and I thought that was a fantastic entry from ‘Robbo’. I didn’t think it was a yellow card.
Does a turbulent week have any effect on your preparation for this game?
You are welcome. I am here to train the team, I have nothing to do with everything that happens off the pitch. My job is just to train the team and prepare for the games.
Does it frustrate you that the club off the pitch always seems to be in some sort of mix-up?
No, he does not do it. Going into the job she knew how hard it was going to be. Right now we’ve had a rough patch of games, I get it, there’s no one more frustrated than me. There are reasons why it happened, we have to go back to basics, do our jobs as individuals, just keep working and move on.
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