John Eustace salutes Birmingham young guns after vital victory over Rotherham

Posted Sunday, March 12, 2023 by PA

John Eustace salutes Birmingham young guns after vital victory over Rotherham

Birmingham City head coach John Eustace heaped praise on his young stars after they beat relegation rivals Rotherham United 2-0.

On-loan Brighton winger Reda Khadra put the Blues ahead five minutes into this clash when he dangerously cut in from the left before firing a bullet into the top corner.

Eustace’s men deservedly doubled their lead in the 35th minute when Kevin Long fired home from a Tahith Chong corner.

Having gone into the break leading 2-0 they opted for a more defensive approach in the second half and soaked up all the pressure the Millers threw at them as Matt Taylor’s men only managed one shot on target all afternoon.

It is no real surprise that Rotherham were misfiring on the road as they have only won two of 19 away games this season, scoring 11 goals in the process.

Eustace said: “It was an outstanding performance. First half we were really good, very exciting, created a number of chances and second half we showed a different side to us, we defended fantastically.

“The last two games have been very good performances. In the games we’ve lost we’ve still had some really good performances in them without having deserved to lose.

“To have three academy graduates (Alfie Chang, Jordan James and George Hall) in that midfield against a very difficult and aggressive team was very pleasing and the three boys all did very, very good.

“It’s all about developing younger players and I thought the young lads were magnificent and they’ve been magnificent throughout the season. You have to see them grow and mature, there are going to be tough times and that’s why it’s important people don’t get carried away with the high and the lows.

“It was a real tough game that second half and the way the three lads stuck to it was fantastic, but they’ve got good players around them as well, good leaders and our back four were excellent.

“(Kevin) Long has been fantastic and his levels of performances have been very good and they’re getting better and better, he’s playing more games and has got good people around him to help him.”

A disappointed Rotherham boss Matt Taylor said: “We were much improved second half after a change of shape and a change of personnel, but we needed a goal to give us extra belief as the half went on and I’m a little bit disappointed with the way it petered out.

“We had better intent about us second half but you’ve got to give the opposition credit as we know how well they start games, certainly here.

“We didn’t quite hold onto their approach, their physicality, they came out on top and kept the ball going in their direction rather than our direction and we had no control whatsoever in that first half.

“It’s not a corner (for Long’s goal), he’s (the referee’s) missed that one, he’s missed a clear penalty, but it wasn’t the official’s fault for the whole of that first-half performance. He had a poor afternoon like we did.

“Jordan Hugill has got goal side of his marking man and there’s so much going on in the 18-yard box and I know it’s difficult for referees but there’s four of them looking at it, he’s wresting and pulling him.”


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