‘We need to’ – Clotet on formations, Villalba and a Birmingham City lesson
Pep Clotet suffered his first Championship defeat as Birmingham City boss yesterday.
Blues were routed 3-0 by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground after goals from Joe Lolley, Lewis Grabban and Michael Dawson.
The defeat follows up a win at Brentford and a draw with Bristol City meaning Blues have four points from their opening three league fixtures.
Here’s everything Clotet said in his post-match press conference:
Obviously we’re not happy. We came here with a view of being more competitive and trying to get something. We’ve had a really good start in the league and we were aware that Forest were in need of the points.
We were facing a physical side with a lot of intensity but I think we started the game OK, we built into it and created problems for them. But those two goals, with a very short time between each other, meant Forest were able to defend the goal and close the spaces. It was very tough for us to go forward.
In the second half we tried, and played a lot of football, but it was difficult because they had a lot of numbers. That’s not making excuses, it’s just highlighting the difficulties that we’re having and the mistakes that we’re making.
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We’re in a situation that some of the players came late. Three of them (Sunjic, Crowley and Villalba) went straight into the team and need to adapt a little bit more. We need to have a little bit more patience and understand the process that the players are getting through.
In training we try a lot of things. It’s not how much I know the players, it’s how much the rest of the team know each other. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. We need to shorten that adaptation time as much as possible.
I think the team has improved a lot since we started. The game last week (Bristol City) was a massive improvement from Brentford and again today we showed a lot of positives. But the result is the most important thing and that is not positive at all.
There was a lot of positives in the players going forward and trying to create chances, but it’s difficult against a team that is winning 2-0.
I’m kind of new in Birmingham but one thing that I’ve learned about the club is that Birmingham is very resilient. Everyone will get together, we’ll get united.
We were all hoping to get something here but now it’s about getting back together.
Forest’s first goal
I have not seen it back from that angle so it’s difficult for me to comment.
Today was a little more difficult for Kristian because Bristol played with one wing-back and they were playing with two so he was more in need of support. Fran is a very offensive player – I think he works very hard defensively – but he just needs a little bit more time to get to know each other and be more dominant.
We’ve got two. This formation we played today is very similar to what we played last season. The players are comfortable and as the news players adapt and settle in we can use it more. For me it’s about being flexible and knowing the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day the system doesn’t make any difference, it’s about where you position the players on the pitch.
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Three sloppy goals
I was disappointed. It had a lot of effect that those two goals were quick and even though we tried and tried in the second half we got exposed. We knew a goal would get us back into the game and we left ourselves open. Losing 2-0 you need to go forward and try to win.
We need to make sure that it’s not easy for us to be losing a game in the first half like that. We can’t lose the mentality of being much more solid, away from home especially.