Gary Rowett has issued a warning to Pep Clotet and Birmingham City about the challenge they will face this season.
Speaking on Quest, via The Birmingham Mail, the former Blues manager said: “I think it’s a massive transition. They’ve tried to do it before under Gianfranco Zola, where they’re trying to change the style, and I think it’s going to be a difficult season for them.”
Clotet’s comments at the beginning of pre-season, as quoted by The Birmingham Mail, contradict any suggestion there will be any drastic change under the Spaniard, as he said: “We worked a lot last season on things that became core for us, like trying to be solid, trying to establish good counter-attacks, having a good set-play system. We worked a lot on finishing.
“We cannot go away from any of that. They are our fundamentals. Obviously, we have to keep growing and evolving these characteristics.
“I don’t believe in major changes in football or in life. Everything is gradual. In a football team it is always analysing what we do badly and trying to turn those weaknesses into strengths and try to correct mistakes to get better.”
Birmingham have had a mixed bag this season, as the Blues have won, lost and drawn in the Championship, as well as being beaten 3-0 by Portsmouth in the League Cup.
The team have not done badly so far this season by any stretch, on the ball they have averaged 43.2% of possession with a pass success rate of 71.6%, as per WhoScored.
Though there are slight things that will need to be changed if Birmingham are to up their chances of reaching the Championship’s higher echelons, for example, they have conceded 12.3 shots per game compared to the 7.7 shots they have averaged.
However, there are reasons outside of the manager that could impact the club’s performances this campaign compared to last, with the most notable being that Che Adams, Jota and club captain Michael Morrison have all left this summer.
Rowett is right to say that Birmingham could have a big challenge on their campaign, though his area of concern is perhaps a little misplaced.
Dealing with the loss of three key figures is a far bigger reason for any potential worries at Birmingham than who is in the St. Andrew’s hot seat.
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