Blues’ solidity at the back in draw at Luton impresses boss John Eustace

Posted Sunday, July 31, 2022 by PA

Blues’ solidity at the back in draw at Luton impresses boss John Eustace

Birmingham boss John Eustace was impressed by his side’s defensive display in the opening day 0-0 draw at Luton.

The former QPR assistant was only appointed earlier this month following the departure of Lee Bowyer, and he saw his side hold the Hatters to a stalemate at Kenilworth Road.

Experienced goalkeeper John Ruddy producing a fine display on his debut against a team who finished in the Sky Bet Championship play-off places last term.

Eustace said: “We’ve been in the building three weeks, there’s been a lot of hard work on the training field done, and I think you can see good signs coming out today in the game against a really tough opponent in Luton.

“I don’t think we could have asked for a more difficult opening fixture, away at Luton Town who have just had a magnificent season, (have) a really good squad, they’ve got fantastic experience in that squad as well, so I was very proud of the defensive display from the boys.

“Collectively they were in the right areas, they defended the box for their lives, they got up the pitch, the communication.

“The last three weeks have been tough for the boys, but it’s all been structured in how we want to defend, and we’re pleased with the performance.”

After Jordan Clark fired wide for the hosts, Ruddy kept out Luke Freeman’s low effort, before home stopper Ethan Horvath denied Maxime Colin and claimed Przemyslaw Placheta’s dipping snapshot from 22 yards.

In the second period, Luton went closer, Freeman and Carlton Morris curling narrowly wide, while Juninho Bacuna drilled into the side-netting for the Blues.

An alert Ruddy nicked the ball off the toes of Allan Campbell and collected Cauley Woodrow’s low drive, before Harry Cornick saw his effort fly just past the former Norwich keeper’s post.

Birmingham almost made Luton pay late on but centre-half Marc Roberts, left unmarked from a corner, could only the ball behind.

Hatters boss Nathan Jones said: “We always want to win a game, especially at home, but it was a hard-fought game.

“I thought we had the better of the chances, had some real good chances to have at least scored a goal, but I couldn’t have asked more from them.

“They tried right until the end, we’re lacking a little bit of sharpness, which is understandable, as we had two weeks less than everyone.

“We had to come back, we’ve had a five-week pre-season, so a little bit of sharpness was lacking really.

“We’ve had a disjointed pre-season, that can sometimes catch up with you, but they gave me everything.

“I thought we created enough to have won the game, we must have had 12-15 set plays, and just couldn’t find the opening.

“If we find the opening it would have been a different game but in terms of endeavour, in terms of everything else, I can’t ask anything more.

“We’re bedding in a few new players who I thought were really effective,
“Luke Freeman started the game really well, but I’m really happy with the levels and how we went about our work.

“We didn’t take a point off these (Birmingham) last year, so at least if we take the same points we did off everyone else, we’ll actually be in a better position.”




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