Birmingham City fans rue transfer as Gary Rowett sends message to Pep Clotet
Gary Rowett reckons Birmingham City are in for a ‘difficult season’ after picking apart their 3-0 drubbing at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Ex-Blues boss Rowett, who is currently out of work, was in Quest’s studio on Saturday night to analyse the Championship’s matches.
And he didn’t mince his words when asked about Blues’ Championship chances after the decision to sack Garry Monk and replace him with Pep Clotet.
“I think it’s a massive transition,” said Rowett. “They’ve tried to do it before under Gianfranco Zola, where they’re trying to change the style, and I think it’s going to be a difficult season for them.”
What might have been…
It’s looking like a case of what might have been for Birmingham City and George Puscas.
Blues were extensively linked with a move for the former Inter forward, before he opted to join Championship rivals Reading.
It is understood Pep Clotet was keen on the 23-year-old, who shone at this summer’s European U21 Championship.
There was even a belief that Blues were close to sealing a deal for a striker as the transfer window wound down.
Reading managed to sign the Romanian on deadline day and it looks to be shrewd business for the Royals.
He scored his first goal for the club in their EFL Cup opener in midweek, before taking centre stage in the Championship on Sunday.
Puscas scored two goals, including a stunning solo strike, for Reading as they thrashed recently relegated Cardiff City at The Madjeski Stadium.
That performance has left Blues fans, whose side managed only two goals in their opening three league games, wondering just how big of a blow not signing Puscas could prove to be.
Forest fans were left less than impressed with the exploits of Birmingham City on Saturday.
Despite a positive start to the league campaign, which had seen Clotet’s men go unbeaten, they were thrashed 3-0 by Forest at The City Ground.
Goals from Joe Lolley, Lewis Grabban and Michael Dawson condemned Blues to their first defeat of the season.
On what was a disappointing afternoon in the East Midlands, the travelling supporters were left suitably concerned by the abject performance.
Blues players held a post match meeting to discuss what went wrong on a sobering afternoon.
Here’s how the delighted Forest fans rated, and more accurately didn’t rate, Birmingham City’s performance.
Dan Crowley and Fran Villalba are lovely to watch and Blues fans will delight in the intricate combinations they’re bound to play throughout the season.
But neither of Blues’ two new attackers – or their existing ones – possess the pace to penetrate defences.
That’s where fellow new boy Jefferson Montero comes in. The Ecuadorian travelled to Nottingham and trained with the squad on the pitch beforehand but Clotet was unable to select him because his clearance hasn’t yet arrived.
“We just hope that Swansea and the Welsh FA sort out the clearance and the player is ready to play with us soon,” Clotet said.
Montero appears to be one ingredient Blues are definitely missing at present and his impending introduction will no doubt offer Clotet a boost.
Joe Lolley just loves playing against Birmingham City.
Lolley’s goal on Saturday means he has struck when facing Blues in each of the last three seasons.
During the visit to Forest 12 months ago, the 26-year-old scored the hosts’ first goal as they fought back from 2-0 down to earn a draw.
In March 2018, Lolley opened the scoring at the City Ground in a 2-1 victory.
To add insult to injury for Blues, Lolley’s Aston Villa allegiances are no secret and he seemed to make the most of that connection on Saturday, running straight over to the away end after finding the net and revelling in the reactions of those in it.