Preston fan describes Birmingham City ‘attack’ as Pep Clotet reveals big regret
‘Take the loss on the chin’
A Preston North End fan has described the moment that a Birmingham City fan smashed the window of their coach as it left the city.
The incident occurred minutes after Preston had beaten Blues at St Andrew’s by a solitary first half strike.
That defeat was Blues’ first in front of their own supporters after a frustrating second half that saw one goal ruled out and a strong penalty claim turned down.
But it appears a couple of home fans took their frustrations to far, vandalising a coach carrying away supporters back to Lancashire.
“They probably did it due to the fact they can’t take the loss on the chin,” he told LancsLive.
“He gave us some hand gestures and out of nowhere he threw a bottle and as soon as it hit he ran off.
“There were two of them, one had no shirt on and one had their new home kit on.”
Sean Maguire’s first half goal was enough to settle a fractious encounter at St Andrew’s as Birmingham City lost their unbeaten home record.
Pep Clotet’s men struggled to make much impact offensively and once they went behind it looked an uphill struggle.
Alvaro Gimenez had the ball in the net late on but his ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside – Clotet spoke with the media afterwards.
I don’t think that we deserved to lose, because I think the game was very even. We were coming from a good moment where we won three out of four, both teams were fighting for the same thing – to make a huge step forward and I am disappointed for the fact our fans can’t sleep tonight watching Birmingham back in the playoffs after three years.
I think the first half we did a good job defensively avoiding them to play comfortably, they had to go long to try and hurt us and we were comfortable as well defending those long balls.
Preston did the same to us, they defended very well, we didn’t find spaces, they stopped our tempo a lot and we couldn’t find enough quick enough combinations to unlock their defence.
The game was kind of boring for both sides, those fine margins were very even, Preston managed to get ahead with that free kick where we made a mistake allowing that second phase.
Preston fans have their say
@KseagerHarris: 21st of September will now be remembered as the day #BCFC fans had a massive meltdown over a 1-0 defeat to a superior team
@TheFootyTog: AN is so tactically astute I would challenge any manager in this division to match him! He knew exactly how Brum would play, he explained playing Gally and Pearo together with a tactical breakdown. His disection / explanation of his tactical approach is second to none
@TomHarrisonLaw: This Preston team is special. This manager we have is also very special. His attention to detail (Brum pitch is 6 yards narrower than Deepdale) is frightening and we are very lucky he is with us. We have a real opportunity this season if we stay fairly injury free.
@PNEKris: Yet again we have an example of a team who think they’re massive being brought back to earth
@PNEFansForum: One Pep down, one to go.
@Kenny_Marland: Home from Birmingham, what a win. The buzz around PNE now is huge, I hope the start to the season inspires more people to come more regular to games home and away. Be loud, be proud and back your home team! E I E I E I O!
@ElWardo86: 1-0 up away from home against a team we were level on points with, of course we’re gonna start time wasting, itd be shockin game management to continue attacking?
On the front foot
Birmingham City must not let teams come to St Andrew’s and leave with all three points.
That’s the view of Blues defender Maxime Colin, who was part of the side beaten by Preston, their first home defeat of the campaign.
A first half strike from North End striker Sean Maguire was enough to end Blues’ unbeaten home record and stop some of the momentum that had been built up in recent weeks.
It was another slow start for Pep Clotet’s men who struggled to respond to the visitor’s early goal, until the last quarter of the game brought about a period of consistent pressure.
And Colin believes his side must be on the front foot from the off, particularly in front of their own fans.
Lessons to be learned
The unbeaten home record went on a disappointing afternoon for Birmingham City.
The hope that Blues had found answers at Charlton was replaced by an anxiety that many solutions still remain to be discovered.
It’s also important to remember that this was a drab game, arguably made drab by a proficient away team.
Apart from a lack of urgency in the first half, here’s what stood out.
It’s easy to understand why Pep Clotet went with the same starting XI to the one which won at The Valley – none of the team that day deserved to be dropped.
However, the moving variables of the Championship are such that what works one week carries no guarantees the next – and that was particularly obvious in the attacking positions where the players that did an admirable job at Charlton, this week looked like square pegs in round holes.
Jude Bellingham is an attacking midfielder, a classic No. 8, Dan Crowley is probably best as a No. 10, Fran Villalba – the same. Asking any of them to play as wingers in a 4-4-2 is going to produced mixed results.
They can do it from time to time but the difference when an authentic winger was introduced was noticeable.
Just as he did when he came on last weekend Jacques Maghoma gave Blues natural width and a much-needed ball-carrier.
As the most experienced and Championship-honed attacker in the Blues squad the 31-year-old is going to be an important player this season, one that offers the flexibility of playing as an out-and-out winger and also on the side of a 4-2-3-1.
As a winger he’s happy to go round the outside – with either foot – and when he plays further infield he asks questions of defenders.
He offers more defensive assiduity than any of the other wide attackers and has to be close to a start – especially if Blues continue with the 4-4-2.