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Reaction: Blues 0 Preston North End 1

When two teams are so level to each other, any little mistake like that costs a goal and changes the result.

Pep Clotet

Pep Clotet gives his assessment of today's narrow home defeat to The Lilywhites.

Pep Clotet on a frustrating afternoon at St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium…

I didn’t think we deserved to lose. I think the game was very even. We were coming from a good moment because we’d won three out of four. Both teams were fighting for the same thing – to make a huge step forward (in the table). I’m disappointed for the fact that our fans cannot sit there tonight looking at Birmingham back in a play-off position for the first time in three years, we’d have been very delighted at that. But, when you come to analyse what happened in the game, I think we avoided them from playing too comfortably in the first-half and they had to go long to try to hurt us – and we were comfortable defending those long balls. We put in a good job and I think Preston did as well, in the first-half they defended very well and we couldn’t find spaces. They stopped a lot of our tempo in the game and we couldn’t find quick enough combinations to unlock their defence. Preston managed to get ahead from that free-kick when we made a mistake from the second phase, but unfortunately those things happen and they are the little margins that define the game. When two teams are so level to each other, any little mistake like that costs a goal and changes the result. In the second-half our team went forward more and more and finished very strongly. We managed to find more spaces to play more – to get Maxime Colin and Kristian Pedersen higher up and attack the box from different angles, but unfortunately not enough to get the equaliser. All the players who came on as a sub did a good job and helped us to go forward. There was a moment that we wanted to balance the risk and the reward and go for more risk and try and go for the game.

Pep Clotet on the disallowed goal from Alvaro Gimenez…

It was very, very close and I’m very surprised that he (the assistant referee) managed to see it because I have so many doubts when I watch it back from different angles, it was very difficult to judge it live. But fair enough for the linesman if he’s seen it clearly. At the end of the day, I didn’t think it really affected the game because if the ref doesn’t give the goal, then it’s not a goal – simple. They (the officials) had a tough job today.

Pep Clotet on the handball from Maxime Colin’s second-half cross…

There was a handball in the box, but the ref felt that it was normal to have a hand there and gave us a corner, like if it had touched a leg. Unfortunately for us, that’s how he saw it. We got a corner and my work then is to make sure that we do something with our corners. It’s difficult to say whether it should have been a penalty, he was very close. For me, the biggest shock was to see a water break in the game because that killed our whole momentum. It’s the first time I’ve seen that. I come from a country where we play in 40, 45 degrees and there isn’t a water break. In a friendly game I don’t mind water breaks – it’s pre-season, but not in a league game.

Pep Clotet accentuating the positives from his team’s start to the season…

I focus a lot on the positives that we’re doing because now we’re defending well, we’re solid, we’re developing young players for the Club and winning points. As long as the team is gelling more and, slowly, we’re getting more offensive. We did a lot of good things today and we’ll try and correct what we haven’t done, and we’ll go again next week against Derby.

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