Get your daily update and weekly newsletter by signing up today!


Gianfranco Zola claims “We tried to play some football at times…”

5 years ago

Gianfranco Zola was more than happy with Birmingham’s goalless draw against Newcastle.

The Blues Manager saying that on the back of their draw at Cardiff in the previous match, it is a ‘very small platform’ to build on…’but it is a platform’

With only two wins in the 19 games since Gary Rowett was sacked, any positive signs are encouraging.

Gianfranco Zola even declaring ‘We tried to play some football at times’.

The Birmingham boss saying that these small moments were ‘quite good’, when ‘considering the situation and the value of the opposition’.

Despite the draw against the league leaders, other results mean Birmingham are now only five points above the drop and with a worse goal difference (-16) than all but rock bottom Rotherham (-54!!).

As for Rafa Benitez, he will look at 65% possession and 17 shots, yet only three efforts on target.

A game that Newcastle surely were looking to win but which defeats for Brighton and Huddersfield meant it has the look of possibly a valuable point.

Gianfranco Zola:

“The players showed a lot of heart today. The commitment and the desire not to give anything away was top class. I am pleased, this is what the moment requires.

“Considering the value of their team we also created a couple of chances. They could have scored obviously because they are a good team but also, we could have scored – that’s encouraging to be honest.

“At the moment that’s the sort of performance we need from the team. At the moment, we need to be defensively organised, be difficult to beat and get results that can give a bit of comfort and tranquillity to everyone.

“Once we do that then we are going to go to the next step but at the moment, the first-half was a perfect example of what we need to do.

“We tried to play some football at times, not as much as I would like but considering the situation and the value of the opposition team it was quite good.

“Even in the second-half when we were tired there was a couple of bits of good passing and we created a chance – but that could have gone better.

“Considering the situation we are going through it’s not easy to produce that quality because you need to be calm with the ball, you have to be confident. When you go through such a difficult run like ours it is not easy to find that.

“Even if I don’t have pressure from the Club or the supporters, if I don’t get the results I want I am under pressure as well. I am used to that. These are only two results (draws in last two games), I am looking for much more than that.

“But it is encouraging because it is what we need to build. It is a very small platform – but it is a platform. We need to carry on and make it bigger. Now we have a little bit of time and I will use it in the best way.

“It’s too early to say it’s light at the end of the tunnel, the attitude is good, the response from the players is good – but it’s a long way.

“At the moment they are quite comfortable in playing in the new gameplan which is to be more difficult to beat. They are fitting quite well in this but it is early days yet.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Birmingham 0 Newcastle 0

Possession was Birmingham  35% Newcastle 65%

Total shots were  Birmingham 9 Newcastle 17

Shots on target were Birmingham 1 Newcastle 3

Corners were  Birmingham 3 Newcastle 5

Referee: Simon Hooper

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Colback, Gouffran (Atsu 82), Perez (Shelvey 78), Murphy (Gayle 63)

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Gamez, Mbemba, Mitrovic

Crowd: 19,796 (Newcastle 3,300)

(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to today’s game go HERE)

(To read what Rafa Benitez had to say post-match go HERE)

(To view the NUFC player ratings and add your own to our interactive system go HERE)


If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]

Have your say

© 2022 The Mag. All Rights Reserved. Design & Build by Mediaworks