Friend: It’s about finding that consistency

We’ve managed to keep them out and almost win it ourselves.

George Friend is taking the positives from Blues’ Boxing Day draw against Nottingham Forest in the Sky Bet Championship.

One of Aitor Karanka’s summer signings, Friend was part of a backline that kept a first clean sheet since November’s visit of Millwall.

And such defensive solidness gave Blues a platform to try and hurt Forest after the break, with Ivan Sanchez almost grabbing the three points for Blues.

The latter would have proven the perfect ending to a well-executed away performance, but the defender was keen to not get caught up in hypotheticals, instead focusing on what was achieved at the City Ground.

Talking to the media after the game he said: “We wanted to make sure we were resolute and away from home we have shown that. As people have said, we could have won the game today. Whoever is playing – it doesn’t matter who’s out there – it’s about that performance.

“We had a spell when we were really on top of them and that’s when we had to score really. People might not have realised watching on TV, but the conditions were tough here today, the wind was blowing like mad and the pitch was a tough one to play. There was a lack of quality at times, but it was about having that response after the Middlesbrough game and making sure we were solid and resolute.

“We’ve managed to keep them out and almost win it ourselves. We can take both positives and look to really try and improve our home form on Tuesday because that’s one objective that we need to be doing.”

An experienced Championship campaigner, Friend knows what it takes to succeed at this level and was able to pinpoint what is required both on and off the field ahead of Blues welcoming Derby County to St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium in their next match.

The 33-year-old explained: “It’s about finding that consistency all over. It’s not just about relying on the guys at the back or those talented front players, we know we have quality and strength all over. Everyone is important for us.

“When you get a loss, it doesn’t mean there’s no team spirit. It’s been evident since I walked through the door the camaraderie here, the manager and his staff bring that as well. Also, the guys who have been here for a while, the medical staff, everyone is in it together."

Friend, who returned to the starting XI after recovering from a small fibula fracture picked up in the win at Bristol City, also gave an insight on what it has been like to play during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He told the press: “If you look right at the top with the Premier League and all the way down to the lower leagues, everyone is finding their challenges. Whether you’re Manchester City, Liverpool or Exeter City, everyone is finding it hard and we’re no different. There are no fans, a slightly different schedule and the manager has mentioned it before, it’s about trying to find some consistency. Hopefully, we can find that form we found at the start of the season and in that spell in the first quarter.”