Gianfranco Zola: Birmingham City manager admits they are not safe from relegation

Gianfranco Zola
Blues have won just once in nine home matches at St Andrew's since Gianfranco Zola took charge

Under-pressure Birmingham City manager Gianfranco Zola admits his misfiring team have been dragged to the edge of the Championship relegation battle.

Blues' run of just two wins in 15 league games since Zola took charge on 14 December has been alarming.

"If we play like this, we cannot say we are safe," he told BBC WM after Tuesday's 1-0 home defeat by 23rd-placed Wigan Athletic.

"I have got a lot of anger inside. We looked childish in what we did."

From being level on points with sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday when they won at home to Ipswich Town on 13 December, the night before Gary Rowett was sacked, Blues have picked up nine points under Zola out of a possible 45 and are now only eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Now they face being further sucked into trouble with a testing four-match run of three away games, starting at Neil Warnock's Cardiff this Saturday, and the visit to St Andrew's of Championship leaders Newcastle United, who knocked Zola's side out of the FA Cup after a replay in January.

"Too many players are hiding," Zola said. "But I am not going to hide from my responsibilities. This is an ambitious club and it deserves better."

Wigan's winner was struck by Dan Burn, who spent six months with Blues on loan from Fulham three seasons ago
Wigan's winner was struck by Dan Burn, who spent six months with Blues on loan from Fulham three seasons ago

What is the next step for Zola?

After failing to earn a win in his first 10 league games in charge of Blues, it looked like Zola's side had turned a corner when they beat promotion-chasing Fulham at home on 4 February.

But three more defeats then followed before Blues enjoyed their first away win under the Italian, the local derby win with 10 men against Wolves at Molineux.

Although his side played very well for an hour and had enough chances to have won comfortably in Friday night's 3-1 home defeat by Leeds, Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Wigan was generally considered to be their worst performance of the entire campaign. They managed just two shots on target against a side in the relegation zone who had won just once in eight matches.

Asked whether he would consider resigning, Zola admitted: "If some of the supporters feel the manager needs to change I totally understand that."

But, with 10 games of the season left, six of which are away from home, he said he needs time to assess the way forward for both him and the club.

"It's too early to say something like that," he added. "I don't want to consider it now. I am too disappointed and angry. I need to analyse the situation. It is not that I want to change. I am responsible and I want to do the right thing.

"The fans are staying behind us. They are staying behind me. So far I haven't given them what I promised to give them. We need to change, otherwise they are going to change us."

Gianfranco Zola was talking to BBC WM's Tom Marlow.

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