Pep Clotet had hoped his Birmingham City side would bounce back following their 3-0 loss to Nottingham Forest on Saturday, as he told the club’s official channels.
He certainly got that, as his side went on to beat Barnsley 2-0 on Tuesday night, thanks to goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz and Alvaro Gimenez.
While it is easy to say that the overall performance improved, there is an intriguing pair of statistics from the two games when compared with each other: possession and shots.
Playing a 4-4-1-1, Birmingham had 53.1% of possession during the game against Forest, though it was the men in red who took more shots – 14 to Blues’ nine – while Clotet’s men managed a mere two on target throughout the 90 minutes, as per WhoScored.
Just a few days later, Clotet switched it around and played three centre-backs against Barnsley and his game plan worked. The Blues only held 36.1% of possession, though it was they who got six shots on target, compared to the visitors’ solitary strike that tested Lee Camp.
Speaking after the game, Wes Harding, who set up Jutkiewicz’s opener, told Birmingham’s YouTube channel: “We just said we are trying to go forward with our football and do all the pretty things, but today we’ve just got to get back to the gritty Birmingham we are and the rest will follow.”
This will give Clotet encouragement, as it highlights that while there is an attempt to push Birmingham forward slightly stylistically, they can revert back to the more resolute side of their game while that is built upon.
The two matches do highlight that it is not all about having possession of the ball, but more what you do with it.
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