Gianfranco Zola ‘I totally believe Birmingham deserved to win against Newcastle’
Gianfranco Zola now has no wins in five matches at Birmingham but was buoyant after Saturday’s match.
The Blues boss claiming that his team were better than Newcastle and that the statistics proved it.
Zola said that his players were ‘more dangerous’ than Newcastle and had more possession and shots.
In reality it was a poor game and more a match of two halves, with Newcastle better in the first and the home side superior in the second.
As for the Gianfranco Zola take on the stats, the reality doesn’t really back up his claims of Birmingham dominance.
The BBC Sport stats (below) show that Newcastle had more possession (53% v 47%), more corners (6 v 1), and whilst Birmingham did have more shots overall (9 v 5), when it came to efforts on target their advantage was only 3 v 2.
Zola has had a tough start with defeats to Brentford, Brighton and Derby (plus a draw with Barnsley), so little surprise he is looking for the positives after getting the draw with Newcastle.
Gianfranco Zola asked if Birmingham deserved to win against Newcastle?
“I totally believe that.
“I’ve seen some of the stats and we had more of the possession, we had more shots and we looked more dangerous than they were.
“If you allow a team like Newcastle to get the ball and to be confident with the ball then you would have a problem. But the majority of the time we had the ball, especially in the second-half when we created problems for them.
“And when they had the ball we stopped them from getting any rhythm, I think that was the big difference.”
Gianfranco Zola on goalscorer Lukas Jutkiewicz’s two late chances to win the game…
“They were two very good chances and they fell to probably one of the best in the league in those types of situations. You expect a goal and it didn’t happen but I can’t blame him (Jutkiewicz), he worked hard for the whole game, he scored a goal and helped the team.
“I thought it was the best (performance under Zola) for consistency because, apart from the first five or 10 minutes, we played very well throughout the game.
“You could see at the beginning they (Birmingham) were a little bit edgy.
“It was not a great corner (for Newcastle’s early goal) but we didn’t manage to clear because there was a little bit of nervousness on the pitch.
“I can tell you, I was nervous on the bench as well! That’s absolutely normal and this is the moment that you have to begin to get the best out of you and react to the situation as we did. A good performance came after that and I’m sure the next game is going to be better.
“Winning is massive, you can be doing the right things on the pitch but if you don’t win the confidence is not going to go up. Without confidence you cannot do anything.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Birmingham 1 Newcastle 1
Newcastle: Murphy 5
Birmingham: Jutkiewicz 42
Possession was Birmingham 47% Newcastle 53%
Total shots were Birmingham 9 Newcastle 5
Shots on target were Birmingham 3 Newcastle 2
Corners were Birmingham 1 Newcastle 6
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Crowd: 13,171 (Newcastle 4,671)
Sels, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Haidara (Ritchie 69), Yedlin, Tiote (Hayden 65), Colback, Lazaar, Murphy, Mitrovic (Gouffran 10)
Darlow, Dummett, Clark, Gayle
(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match HERE)
(FA Cup 3rd round causes fixtures chaos for Newcastle fans – read it HERE)
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]