‘No hard feelings’ says John Eustace despite Birmingham return ending in defeat

By Sports Desk February 13, 2024

New Blackburn boss John Eustace said he was happy with the work he did at Birmingham after his side were beaten 1-0 by his former club at St Andrew’s.

Andre Dozzell made the decisive breakthrough in the 77th minute to end City’s 388-minute drought to reward City’s dominance.

The dismissal of Eustace appeared harsh, as he was forced out having led the team to sixth place in the Sky Bet Championship.

Chief executive Garry Cook said Eustace’s ambitions were not aligned with the club’s.

Yet the 44-year-old’s replacement, Wayne Rooney, was sacked after winning just twice in 15 games as the club plummeted to 20th in the table.

“It was great to be back, I had 15 brilliant months here,” said Eustace.

“The most important thing was to not lose. That’s not a good feeling but I’m fully focused on Blackburn now and I wish Birmingham all the best.

“I have no hard feelings, it’s part and parcel of the job.

“If that wouldn’t have happened I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to be manager of Blackburn.

“I was very happy with the work I did, you could see the club grew and I left it in a much better position than when I came in.

“We were playing some really good football when I left so I was happy with the job I did.”

Asked if he was suitably ambitious, he answered: “I think results and performances showed that.”

As Eustace was talking about his time at St. Andrew’s, a supporter came into the media suite and shouted “They should never have got rid of you, John!”

Eustace replied to the assembled media: “Put that in your reports.”

Regarding the game, Eustace said: “It was disappointing. The lads battled really hard but we have to be better with the ball.”

Tony Mowbray’s side were good value for their first win in four matches, which saw them climb within a point of 16th-placed Rovers.

Marc Roberts hit the post and his namesake Tyler missed one-on-one chances in either half.

Eustace’s counterpart and former Blackburn manager Mowbray felt his team were good value for the win.

“It was an important, big, three points because you can’t keep having 23, 25 shots a game but keep getting beaten,” he said.

“We should have scored more goals and if we’d have got three or four it would have given us more confidence.

“I picked a team to show Blackburn that we were up for a fight because they can cut you open.

“Rather than the artists who can drag their foot over the ball, I played the grafters and chasers but the substitutes impacted the game pretty well too.”

Dozzell spared City’s blushes when he poked home after he and Adam Stansfield had shots blocked, before Cody Drameh’s cross fell back into his path off Kyle McFadzean’s foot.

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