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Lee Bowyer makes Birmingham City transfer admission

Lee Bowyer spoke with the media after Birmingham City’s 1-0 victory over Blackpool.

The game was settled by a late goal from Lukas Jutkiewicz, set up by debutant Jordan James.

Bowyer spoke of his pleasure at another clean sheet, his frustration of losing Riley McGree in the new year – and much more.

Here’s the full transcript

Match reaction

I would say a hard point three points, it was a game of two halves, they were better than us in the first half. We did well to get to half time at 0-0 then second half I thought we were better than them.

Conditions played a big part in the game. It wasn’t pretty but the most important thing for me is that we won the game and we got three points and we ground it out. Especially with everything that has been happened to us of late, I am really pleased.

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Jutkiewicz substitution

Jutkiewicz scores goals as well. I have spoken to him earlier on in the week, it’s been tough for him, Troy in the last few weeks has been assisting, giving Scotty a lot of chances in games.

Jutkiewicz ain’t really done much wrong. I said to him ‘Nothing’s changed the way I feel about you, I still feel the same way but Troy is a good player, you have got to be patient, I know it’s tough but when you get your chance. Just grab it’.

When I put him on I said ‘Go win us the game’ and that’s what he’s done. I am really pleased for Jukey because without doing anything wrong he has watched a lot of football of late.

But I know he is a good pro, I know when I put him on I know he if he gets a chance there’s a good chance he’s going to take it.

Ten clean sheets

Ten out of 20 games, that’s some going. The players deserve plenty of credit for that because it’s hard work. No-one gives you ten clean sheets, you have to work for that.

Again today we had to work for that. Mati made a good save in the second half.

It’s just hard work on the training pitch, demanding of them if your mate is out of position can you help him out? It’s hard.

That will give the players personal pride…

Yes, so they should. We are second in the league table for clean sheets. We are the best outside the top three for clean sheets. If you went on all those stats, expected goals and all that, we should be fifth or sixth in the league. We are doing the right stuff on the training pitch.

And that’s adapting as well. If you think Harlee played on Tuesday, Kristian came in today, George Friend has played a part. Jordan has been wing back, we have had Max wing back, Bela.

People have played out of position as well. Players have had to keep adapting to different formations as well.

Second half I changed it, I went to a back four, positive move, I just didn’t want it to unfold into a 0-0. I knew it could go either way, it’s bit risky but it’s risk and reward. That’s the way I am, I want to win football matches not just watch draws.

So I changed it to a four-diamond, wanted to get the overload in the middle of the park and have more bodies when we put the ball into the box. That paid off.

I am really pleased it did.

READ: The inside story of Jordan James – the Birmingham City teen ‘born to play’ football

Jordan James performance…

He played like he has been playing for a while, above his years definitely, he didn’t look fazed in possession, out of possession. He worked really hard out of possession for the team.

In possession he was making forward runs not really giving the ball away, when we went to the diamond, he made a run in behind the full back, got in crossed it and was brave enough to run into the box from Kristian’s cross for it to go to Jutkiewicz.

I said to him after the game ‘You should be really proud with what you have just done’.

Birmingham City's Jordan James
Birmingham City’s Jordan James

Disappointed to lose McGree?

Yes, Riley is a good player. For the goal, great pass out to Kristian.

Riley was here before I came, unfortunately it’s out of my control.

Would I like to keep him? Yes. But I have said on many occasions unfortunately it’s something I can’t control.

It’s disruptive….

Trust me, there’s a lot of things that are disruptive that are going on. It is what it is. As a manager you have to keep adjusting and adapting and I have done that a hell of a lot since I have been here and I will keep doing it and keep demanding, pushing the players, get the best out of them and try to win games. That’s what you do.

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Was it the plan to play JJ for the full game?

I was just seeing how he goes, you never put a time-frame on it. There was someone I was more worried about – Jordan Graham and he blew up. It was a case of ‘Right just get through it now’. He looked tired the last ten minutes I would say.

Then I don’t want to put on young Marcel, it’s not fair on him to go on right back, winning, ten minutes to go, I don’t want to put that pressure on him.

It was different for Jordan because he had started, he had those experienced players around him to help and guide him.

He didn’t look tired to me at the end, I thought he played and managed the game really well.

Did you get what you expected from him or did he surprise you?

Yes, if I didn’t think I’d get that he wouldn’t have played. He doesn’t really give the ball away and he tries to play forward, tries to do the right things.

Even in training, even in finishing, he finishes well. You are thinking ‘You know what he ticks all the boxes, there is something there’. You don’t just do that from luck.

The only weak thing – and I was exactly the same as him at his age, even older, 19, he needs to improve on the other, defensive side of the game because a few times people ran off the back of him.

But sometimes it’s enthusiasm because he wants to go and win you the ball. Sometimes you can’t win the ball you put yourself in a good defensive position.

These are things he will learn, he is 17-years-old. That’s not criticising him, it’s just saying he’s 17. Great in possession, out of possession, tries competes, goes up and fights to win headers.

But he is going to get done now and again, experienced players get done as well. That’s just something we need to work on with him and that just takes time, that’s all.

Birmingham City's Ryan Woods makes a foul on Coventry City's Ian Maatsen and is subsequently given a red card during the Sky Bet Championship match
Birmingham City’s Ryan Woods makes a foul on Coventry City’s Ian Maatsen and is subsequently given a red card during the Sky Bet Championship match

What’s your reaction to the Ryan Woods decision?

I don’t get it. Can’t change it now, there’s no point me saying too much apart from there must be four people in the world, definitely in the country, who think it was a red card.

That’s the referee who sent him off and the three assessors.

On the panel they unanimously said it was a red card, everyone else I have spoken to in football, that’s either played it, watched it, it’s never been a red card – ever.

I can’t get my head around how they haven’t changed that.

We sent ten clips in, around ten clips of exactly the same things. Some on Chong, Gary Gardner, this season, other tackles in our division, the same thing. Not just our games, in other games.

Some miles worse than what Ryan Woods’ was – and they still didn’t turn it around.

It’s like ‘Wow, all those others were yellow cards, there’s no difference. None, zero.’

I don’t know what they must have been looking at.

They are going to send reasoning, we haven’t received it yet but it’s going to make no difference, they might as well keep their reasoning because it makes no sense and it ain’t going to be right.

There ain’t none.

READ: Birmingham City player ratings vs Blackpool: James rises to the occasion as Jutkiewicz wins it

First half you were instructing Jordan Graham a lot – demanding more of him?

When you play like that your wing backs have to be brave but Bela and Jordan, as a wing back when you play against as back four like today, they end up in their natural positions because they have pressed the full backs.

But centre halves want protection so what they do is keep hold of the wing backs, that’s why their full back kept getting up in the first half.

At half time I said ‘No, no, leave the centre halves, forget them. You have to release earlier, you have to be putting pressure on the ball. Our strikers are pressing but they are getting out because you are too far back, what are you doing back there?’

It’s just tidying up one or two things, they took it on board and in the second half they were better.

Jordan Graham challenges Reece James of Blackpool during the Sky Bet Championship match at St Andrew's.
Jordan Graham challenges Reece James of Blackpool during the Sky Bet Championship match at St Andrew’s.

Deeney had a word as well didn’t he?

To be fair Jordan has been out three weeks so he did really well to get through the game.

More game time for JJ with no money in transfer market?

Obviously there will come a stage where he will play for the 23s, that’s natural, that will happen anyway. And when we need him we will use him.

We know he won’t let us down so the most important thing for me is that he trains with us, keeps learning with the senior lads.

For as long as this is happening I have no worries about using him. If you are good enough you are old enough. Forget the age.

He will be around us and I can assure he will get more minutes.

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Give the players a couple of days off now?

I am not sure we will give them a couple of days off but we will make sure we prepare for Millwall the best way we can. It won’t be as intense because going to Hull and then Coventry with the same small group is tough. Especially to put in the shifts they do – and they have just turned out another one today.

We will make sure we get the recovery right, patch them up and send them down to London.

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