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Aitor Karanka urges Birmingham fans to be patient

Birmingham City v Millwall – Sky Bet Championship -St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium
(Image credit: Zac Goodwin)

Birmingham head coach Aitor Karanka admitted he would feel the same as the club’s frustrated supporters after a 0-0 draw against Millwall – but pleaded with them to show patience.

Blues have now drawn seven games this season including the last three, while they have only scored 10 goals in 14 games, the lowest outside the Sky Bet Championship’s bottom four teams, to remain 17th.

When it was put to him that it was not the most entertaining game for the fans, who have indicated their displeasure on social media, Karanka said: “I can understand it perfectly, because if I am one of them I would feel the same.

“But I am not one of them, I am here to build and I want to make them happy at the end of the season and the following season and the following season.”

Asked if the entertainment value will improve, the Spaniard said: “I hope so because if they are not happy with the performances, imagine how I feel?

“I want to win the games because I don’t prepare the team to draw or to lose.”

Karanka said he wants the fans to be patient after 11 new signings in the summer.

“Of course – patience is needed,” he added. “I was only at Nottingham Forest for one year but I followed something Brian Clough said which was ‘Rome wasn’t built in one day because he wasn’t there’.

“It will come. I can feel the progression of the team and this is the way.

“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon and it’s a long job. I am calm – I promise them we are in a good way.”

Millwall have now drawn eight games this season and five in a row but manager Gary Rowett insists that’s not how his team sets up after they dropped a place to 11th.

“Are we setting out to draw games? No,” said Rowett. “We’re trying to win games, we’re making attacking changes but we’re very limited at the moment because of injuries.

“Our away form has been excellent in terms of the points we’ve got, our defensive record is stunning with the amount of clean sheets we’ve had, we’ve had big chances in a lot of those games.

“I appreciate people are frustrated – I’m sure our fans are because it looks like we’re going away to get draws but we’re certainly not trying to do that.

“We’re trying the best we can – we had Jake Cooper playing the last 15 minutes with a dislocated shoulder, that’s how it is.

“We’re showing the character, now we’ve got to show a bit more quality and composure.”

Former Birmingham manager Rowett felt his team defended well at St Andrew’s.

“They’re set up to be strong on set-pieces and, as the away team, I felt we dealt with it pretty comfortably,” he said.

“I think they had one chance, which was Kristian Pedersen’s header but other than that we dealt with it pretty well.”

In a game of precious few chances, the first meaningful save came in the 88th minute, when Marc Roberts’ towering header was pushed away by Bartosz Bialkowski.

That was followed by a more spectacular stop at the other end from Neil Etheridge, who tipped away an overhead kick from Murray Wallace.