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Every word from Lee Bowyer as Birmingham City lose at Millwall

Lee Bowyer spoke with the media after his Birmingham City side were beaten at Millwall.

The Blues boss lamented his team’s defending, revealed a Covid outbreak in his back-room staff and discussed Matija Sarkic’s absence.

Here’s what was said.

Match analysis

To come here, a difficult place to come, very hostile crowd, I warned the players yesterday if you come here and don’t fight and compete then you are going to lose the game.

If you don’t stick together as a group, you will lose the game and we were too soft in the first half. We allowed them to win every second ball, the basics of the game, set-pieces, not good enough marking. It’s not like us we are normally better than that.

We carried too many in the first half.

Blues’ goal

A great goal from Troy, I think that is the best he has played since he has been at the club. He caused them problems all day. He just kept dropping into those little pockets in the first half and linking things.

Then the second half I thought he played really well, a great finish, a great move.

We had to be braver when we scored but we weren’t . I am thinking ‘OK, we are on top here, we had a couple of good chances before we actually scored and get that second one and we will probably go on and win it’.

Then for some reason we stopped doing the things that were hurting them in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

Account for set-piece defence?

That’s Millwall’s strength, they are a big side and you have to compete but like I said first 45 minutes we were soft, very soft.

Not good, you can’t give them a two goal head start. It’s not like us, we are normally better than that – that’s what frustrates me more than anything because I know what we are capable of doing.

You don’t get ten clean sheets out of 20 games with defending like that. Even the third goal, he ran off the back of Riley, he switched off for a second.

That seemed to be us today – just second best.

Situation with your coaching team?

They have all had Covid, they share an office, two of them share driving, so four of them have been off all week. I had to borrow Craig this week because I was on my own.

Nothing change. That’s no excuse for today, by Sparky not being here, Marshy not being here, that’s not allowed our players to switch off from corners. That’s nothing to do with it.

There’s no excuse, they know their jobs, Craig did it with them last year when he was here and he did it with them again yesterday but they switched off twice and we got punished.

One of them was back today, the other three will be through the week.


Does that match underline how competitive you have to be in the Championship?

The players know that, like I said before, we have had ten clean sheets, if there’s anything we are good at it’s competing. That’s normally our strength.

But today, I just think we got out-fought. It doesn’t surprise me. We have got Riley McGree, his strength ain’t that. We have got a 17-year-old JJ, it’s not his strength, he is 17-years-old.

But it’s not their fault, that’s just the hand that we are dealt.

But if you don’t compete when you come here, you are in trouble, that’s why we struggled so much in the first half so then it was a case of ‘OK now we have got to try and out-pass them, we can’t compete with them because we don’t have the bodies to do that’.

Hence the reason I changed it at half time.

I have to say JJ was good, I thought he played really well, got on the ball, tried to make us play, brave, competed.

He was a plus, it’s a difficult place to come and play here. At least he tried.

Birmingham City goalkeeper Matija Sarkic celebrates
Birmingham City goalkeeper Matija Sarkic celebrates

Sarkic

A tight hamstring, on Thursday he walked in early from training before he even came to us, he had to go in. We scanned him yesterday, we were hoping he would be OK but Friday it was still the same. We don’t know the results yet.

I thought Neil made a couple of good saves for someone who hasn’t played all season and been ill, I thought he did well.




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