Birmingham City 1 Leeds United 3: McDermott not worried by Carbone

Brian McDermott.
Brian McDermott.
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Under pressure Birmingham manager Lee Clark made a rallying call to his players to fight for their lives after another heavy Sky Bet Championship home defeat.

After watching his side ominously drop into the relegation area for the first time this season with a 3-1 loss to Leeds, Clark defiantly said: “I am extremely confident that I can rally the players and lift them to get the necessary points.

“It is hurting me and my family. It is affecting the enjoyment of living in a fantastic part of the world.

“It is not great, so I am prepared to do everything to keep us in the league. I know that I can do it.

“I believe that I have the backing of the players. A bit of nervous tension has crept in and we need to find a way of eradicating this in the last two games.

“Our poor home form is reality. I cannot affect the past but I can the future so why not go out with bang in our last home game against Wigan by winning?

“That would set us up for the last match of the season to give us an opportunity to stay in the league.”

Commenting on the latest defeat, Clark admitted: “We were energetic and powerful in the first half but to give away goals like we did you get punished.”

Birmingham now have a huge fight on their hands to pick themselves up off the canvas after they have miserably failed to win any of their last 17 home games.

Such pitiful home form is the reason why Clark’s men find themselves in such a desperate position on and off the field.

They were destroyed in a two-minute purple patch as Leeds completed the double over Blues, to leave the hosts facing the prospect of playing third tier football for the first time in 20 years.

All their hopes of a late reprieve disappeared when Leeds, who had previously played second fiddle to a more determined Birmingham, scored twice in a couple of minutes early in the second half.

The turning point of the game occurred in the 58th minute when Matt Smith rose high to head home a Michael Tonge cross.

This goal undoubtedly deflated Birmingham and before they had time to recover their composure they were two goals in arrears when Danny Pugh drilled a low shot into the corner of the net.

To add to Birmingham’s disappointment Paul Caddis then scored an own goal when he turned in Ross McCormack’s short cross.

Blues staged a stirring finish when substitute Federico Macheda pulled back a goal with an 83rd minute strike but the irrevocable damage had already been done and they trooped off the field knowing the odds of them avoiding the drop now depend upon their final home game against Wigan on Tuesday and the final match at Bolton.

Meanwhile, Leeds boss Brian McDermott claims he is not frustrated about stories of him losing his job and being replaced by former Sheffield Wednesday, Bradford and Aston Villa winger Benito Carbone.

McDermott said: “I spoke to Bernie on Friday. He was a really good player but I do not know him.

“These sort of things do not frustrate me or unsettle me. “The most important thing is Leeds United and what is best for this football club and what is best to take this club forward. That is the only agenda I’ve got.

“The future is looking brighter as we have won three of our last four games. We were top five at one stage but we had a lot of things going on with the ownership, which was really difficult.

“These are mitigating circumstances and not excuses. We are now as safe as houses in this league and looking to do well next season.”

Oxford United manager, Pep Clotet.
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