Lee Bowyer praised matchwinner Lukas Jutkiewicz for his patience after Birmingham beat Blackpool 1-0 at St Andrew’s.
Jutkiewicz scored in the 81st minute after coming on as a substitute six minutes earlier for Troy Deeney, who has kept him on the bench in recent weeks.
“I spoke to him and said it’s been tough for him because Troy has played in the last few weeks and got assists and Lukas hasn’t done much wrong,” said head coach Bowyer.
“I told him I still feel the same way about him but that he’s got to be pushing and then when he gets his chance, grab it.
“I said to him to go and win us the game and he did so I was very pleased for him.
“He’s a good pro and I know if he gets a chance, there’s a good chance he will take it.”
Birmingham have now kept 10 clean sheets out of 20 Sky Bet Championship games this season and Bowyer is delighted with the return.
“Ten clean sheets from 20 games is some going. The players deserve a lot of credit for that because it’s hard work – you have to work for that,” he added.
“It’s a case of: ‘If your mate is out of position, can you help him out?’”
Bowyer was also pleased with 17-year-old midfielder Jordan James, who set up the goal on what was an accomplished full debut.
“He played like he’s played for a while – he’s above his years,” said Bowyer.
“He didn’t look fazed in possession or out of possession and he worked so hard for the team.
“I said to him afterwards: ‘You should be really proud of yourself for that performance’.”
Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley admitted his team got what they deserved after failing to convert their first-half dominance into goals.
“Sometimes if you don’t produce better quality than what we produced, you get what you deserve,” he said.
“I’m not sure we deserved any more because we didn’t do enough when we had the opportunities we created.
“In the first half we were in the ascendancy, played some good football, had some good attacking moments, and created some decent opportunities.
“Our play was not as good in the second half and our collective decision making and quality in the final third was poor.
“While it’s 0-0 you always run the risk of Birmingham doing what they do well, which is get the ball in the box from a throw-in, corner or cross like the goal came from.
“Arguably it (goal) could have been offside but that was the decisive moment.”
Critchley felt Blackpool could have had a penalty when substitute Shayne Lavery tumbled under a challenge from Ivan Sunjic.
“Possibly – Shane got to the ball first and Sunjic ran across him and got brought down, but I never expected the ref to give it,” he added.
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