None of my players were better than mediocre

Last updated : 27 February 2002 By Tony Scholes

Even the opposition manager Steve Bruce said Burnley and not made it as difficult as he thought we would in his after match comments, he knew just how easy we had made it for his players.

Bruce said after the game,

"I thought that for all the pressure they had, I can't remember our keeper having to make a save. There were not many clear cut chances in the game. We didn't want the first half to end and I was delighted with the response of my players, they were terrific out there.

"Defensively tonight they were absolutely magnificent, Darren Purse was magnificent and Michael Johnson was quality. We have got some huge games coming up, starting with tonight and then at Preston on Saturday but our destiny is in our own hands. It is usual for somebody to come with a run but there is still a long way to go.

"We are heading into a bit of form but if we can keep playing like that we will be in with a shout.

Burnley will be there or thereabouts, that's for sure. You know what to expect from Burnley and not many teams will come here and win. I have terrific admiration for Stan Ternent and he gets the best out of his players."

Stan was far from happy and put the blame for this dreadful defeat on the players. Stan had this to say after our fifth home game without a win,

"That was extremely disappointing. I thought we were lacklustre and we got what we deserved. The performance was very poor, as poor as we have been all season. We had too many players not playing anywhere near their potential or capability. The second half was a little bit better but not close to the standards we have been setting ourselves.

"None of my players were better than mediocre. They have to show a little more bottle in my book. We were lacklustre and got what we deserved. It might have been the occasion, the expectation of being up in the top part of the league and playing a match you have to win.

"We had a lot of the ball but their keeper didn't have to make a save but I still say we will be there at the end of the season. I have trust in my players and I know they will bounce back. The end of the road is still 11 games away.

"All the games are big ones now. I am extremely disappointed that when I asked the fans to get behind the players the team didn't give them anything to shout about."

On the substitutions,

"We were not in the game and I needed to change things. The skipper has done very well and his return is a step in the right direction. He is a very good player, the heart of the team. He has had half a game and that will stand him in good stead."

Mooney strikes where Burnley fear to tread

Ian Winrow at Turf Moor (Guardian)

The resurgence of Steve Bruce's Birmingham side was confirmed when a first-half header from Tommy Mooney proved sufficient to overcome a faltering Burnley and take City to the verge of the play-off positions.

Without a win in January, Bruce's side were beginning to look a spent force in this season's crowded chase for a place in the Premiership. City's prospects now look altogether healthier, in stark contrast to Stan Ternent's Burnley side who cannot shed their continuing frailties at home. The Clarets have failed to record a win at Turf Moor since mid- December, a worrying statistic for an ambitious team.

Bruce is optimistic that his side have found form at the right time. "There is always one team that comes in with a late run and there is no reason why that shouldn't be us," said the Birmingham manager. "We have to play everyone above us and so our prospects are entirely in our own hands."

Birmingham's success was built on their ability to soak up long periods of Burnley pressure without ever looking like being breached. At the other end of the field Mooney remained a potent force, claiming the 25th-minute winner with a well placed header and constantly threatening on the break.

By contrast Burnley wore the look of a team desperately low on confidence in front of their own fans. They led the table at Christmas but their wretched home form threatens to undo their previous good work as they look anxiously over their shoulder at the likes of the advancing City.

Ternent is under no illusions about what is required. "It's time for us to start to show some bottle," said the manager. "Tonight's performance was extremely disappointing. We were lacklustre and as poor as we have been all season."

The decisive moment of the game came when Paul Devlin swung in a regulation, looping cross from a deep position out on the right which should have been dispatched easily by the home defence. Instead Mooney was allowed to position himself between the central defenders Ian Cox and Kevin Ball and head home comfortably from close range.

Mooney makes mark as Birmingham confound Clarets

By Kevin Rogers (Independent)

Birmingham City boosted their hopes of a place in the First Division promotion play-offs with a deserved 1-0 victory at Burnley last night.

Tommy Mooney scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half to effectively end Burnley's hopes of automatic promotion. The Blues were simply too good for the home side, who failed to create a decent chance at any point in a lacklustre display.

Birmingham could have secured a more convincing win but for the outstanding display of the Clarets' goalkeeper Marlon Beresford.

Mooney's goal came following a lively burst of right-wing play by Paul Devlin, who hit a deep cross for the City striker to head home from eight yards. Before that goal, Beresford had saved well from both Mooney and Curtis Woodhouse.

The second half saw Birmingham content to defend in numbers and attempt break-away moves. Burnley never threatened but the visitors could have scored again had Beresford not saved well from Mooney and the substitute Stan Lazaridis.

Mooney sinks Burnley

By Ron Gubba (Daily Telegraph)

BIRMINGHAM edged closer to the play-off places with their third consecutive win as Burnley's hopes of staying in the top six continued to falter. The former Division One leaders have won only two of their last 11 matches and have not won a League match at home since Dec 15.

Birmingham set the tone by creating the first openings, on-loan goalkeeper Marlon Beresford being forced to tip Tommy Mooney's effort over the bar and then clinging on to a 20-yard drive from Curtis Woodhouse.

Burnley's first attempt on goal was a weak effort from Gareth Taylor which did not trouble Ian Bennett but Glen Little should have done better than fire over the top from Alan Moore's through-ball.

The visitors snatched the all-important goal in the 25th minute when Mooney met Paul Devlin's right-wing cross with a firm header to notch his 14th goal of the season.

Burnley were a more determined force in the second half without finding the finishing touch. Ian Moore squandered a fine chance and another chance went begging when Little volleyed over.