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Clark praises character

Posted: Sat 19 Jan 2013

Blues boss Lee Clark

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Lee Clark praised his players after they kept going right to end of the game to secure a point against Brighton this afternoon.

The match looked to be mirroring Tuesday's FA Cup defeat against Leeds, as Blues took the lead only to find themselves 2-1 behind.

However, Nikola Zigic ensured his side got something against the south coast promotion hopefuls with a 92nd minute headed goal.

"I think we’ve done that on many occasions this season," said the Blues boss. "Probably too many times for my liking in terms of having to do it four or five times to salvage a point. But it shows the character is there and we keep going all the way through and that’s a big plus point."

Having taken an 18th  minute lead through Steven Caldwell, Blues managed to hold onto the lead for just six minutes before Ashley Barnes levelled the proceedings. Then with two minutes to go to the break David Lopez gave the Seagulls the advantage. 
"Of course I was disappointed because they’ve only had two attempts in the first half and they’re leading 2-1," said Clark. "We’ve worked Kuszczak far more than they’ve worked Butland in the first half, with Callum Reilly, Burke and other opportunities. I felt a little bit for the players because I didn’t think they deserved to be losing the game 2-1.

"Their second goal was a good goal from their point of view, but not for us. We haven’t pressed the ball enough. If you give Wayne Bridge that amount of time he can pick someone out like that. It was the same with the first goal when we didn’t get out to the lad who is shooting quickly enough. 

"What I said to the lads is that if you get out there and block the shot and it takes a deflection and beats Jack because of the deflection there is nothing you can do, that’s just bad luck. But we haven’t got out to the ball. We’ve got to two yards of it and then we’ve put the brakes on. 

"It’s disappointing because I felt we’d started brightly and caused one or two problems, not only with a different system but with different personnel and we popped the ball around well. 

"But obviously when you go behind at home you have to look at changing things a little bit and that’s what we did at half-time. And that’s not a reflection on Wade Elliott because I thought he was playing quite well. But we just felt that we had to make a tactical decision and thankfully at the end it’s helped us achieve a positive result and pick up a point. In saying that, we do have to start getting some wins."

After Zigic had levelled the scores, Brighton would have scored again had it not been for Jack Butland producing a close-range wonder save to deny ex-Blues man Gary Dicker.

"Obviously my keeper in injury time makes a world class save to keep it at 2-2. It was an absolutely stunning save from close range. He’s 19-years- of age and a supreme talent. I love his desire and his drive. We’re indebted to him that it hasn’t gone pear shaped to him at the end and ended up losing."