Doing great when your backs are up against the wall.
That is something that has pretty much summed up Birmingham City in the last two games. Having seen Ivan Sunjic be sent off in the game against Blackburn Rovers last weekend, the Blues found themselves in a similar situation against Luton Town, this time with defender Harlee Dean given his marching orders instead.
However, in both those games, the Blues managed to see the games out and come away with the victory, and the way they managed to deal with that adversity was something that head coach Pep Clotet was keen to point out.
Speaking after the game, the Spaniard pointed out that despite being under pressure for the closing stages, they still managed to stick to their plan and create a couple of chances:
“The team has worked a lot on how to play these situations, the team was organised straight away and did their best. They came a little bit more at us, they managed to play 11 v 10 better than Blackburn managed against us and put us under a little bit more stress but still I think we defended our box very well. But still we caught them on a few breaks. Actually, in those 10 minutes, we still had another chance by Dan Crowley, even if the shot was not the best. We kept our organisation and focus.”
My only takeaway, is that it shouldn’t take someone to be sent off for the team to double their efforts defensively as it were. I’ve stuck up for Clotet a lot this season, however there is still a lot of stuff that he needs to improve on, and it’s simple things like this that I feel is really holding the team back.
If he were to bring instill in the players the importance of defending as if you’re down to ten men from the outset, rather than waiting for it to happen then perhaps that defensive record, which is among the worst in the league.
Where do the Blues need to focus on most?
That’s ultimately what needs to be fixed going forward, that way we can build a solid foundation where we don’t feel like we have to score three or four goals a game in order to get the win.