It is Birmingham v Newcastle tomorrow afternoon and ahead of the game, Gianfranco Zola says that he has ‘a lot of anger inside’.
Recent results have driven him to the brink and the Birmingham players have provoked a rare show of such emotion, from a character who is so laidback usually.
After losing 1-0 to fellow relegation battlers Wigan in their last home match, Gianfranco Zola claimed that Birmingham City ‘is an ambitious club that deserves better’.
A point at Cardiff has done little to reduce the challenge Zola faces and having taken over when Birmingham were level on points with sixth place back in December, Birmingham now stand only five places and six points above the drop.
The St Andrew’s boss accepts that some supporters might think there needs to be a change of manager but he’s not thinking about that at the moment.
Instead, he believes that the vast majority of fans are ‘staying behind us, staying behind me’.
However, the reality is that they have been voting with their feet and the second lowest home crowd of the season turned up last time. Despite it being a real relegation six pointer, only 15,596 were there to see Wigan beat the Blues.
With Newcastle quickly selling out their 3,300 allocation and home fans no doubt seeing this as the most attractive game remaining this season, no doubt they will get a decent gate tomorrow.
However, if the Birmingham players don’t respond to that then surely Gianfranco Zola will find his days numbered, especially if the gap to the relegation zone reduces further.
“I have got a lot of anger inside.
“We looked childish in what we did (against Wigan).
“If we play like this, we cannot say we are safe.
“Too many players are hiding but I’m not going to hide from my responsibilities, this is an ambitious club that deserves better.”
“If some of the supporters feel the manager needs to change I totally understand that, I don’t want to consider it now.
“It is not that I want to change. I am responsible and I want to do the right thing.
“The fans are staying behind us, they are staying behind me.
“So far I haven’t given them what I promised to give them.
“We need to change, otherwise they are going to change us.”