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Birmingham players in bust-up as Zola’s side slide closer to Championship drop zone

Date Posted,April 14, 2017

Angry Birmingham players had to be separated when they clashed as struggling Blues hit a new low.

On loan Lukas Jutkiewicz and Emilio Nsue started their confrontation on the pitch with pushing and shoving and the row continued in the dressing room.

Manager Gianfranco Zola, faced with terrace cries of “we want Zola out” admitted there had been exchanges but vowed to battle on.

Blues are now only four points above the drop zone after failing to beat already relegated Rotherham and Zola said: “I have had a chat with the players. You have to understand, there is a lot of pressure at the moment, and they feel the pressure as well.

“Sometimes, you have a long discussion, sometimes you do even more than that. It’s not the first time it has happened.

The incident, caught from the sidelines
Nsue had to be held back from teammates (Photo: Birmingham Mail)
It’s understood top scorer Jutkiewicz was furious after the game (Photo: EMPICS Sport)
Ryan Shotton looks to calm down Lukas Jutkiewicz (Photo: EMPICS Sport)

“I don’t leave things undone. I think I can handle the situation and I don’t turn my back on my responsibilities.

“This is part of the job and I accept that. It’s understandable the supporters are disappointed. As long as they have a go at me, I am grown enough.

“But they need to be supportive of the team and supportive of the players because there is a big thing at stake in the last four games. We need the fans behind them.”

Rotherham manager Paul Warne said: “We can take massive pride from the way we performed in the second half.After the run we’ve been on, the over-riding emotion with 20 minutes to go was ‘don’t fold’. The character the lads showed was excellent.”

Warne’s Rotherham are already doomed (Photo: PA)
Zola’ side are anything but safe (Photo: Getty Images Europe)

Zola has now won only two of his 21 Championship games in charge since he succeeded Gary Rowett, but he must have thought a third was on the cards.

Turkish international Kerim Frei fired home a free kick in the closing stages to reward Birmingham for their bold, attaching approach in the second half.

But they were stunned five minutes from time when Danny Ward fired home the equaliser from long range to end the Millers’ miserable run of defeats.

“We panicked,” said Zola. “We lost our composure which allowed them to come back at the end. I didn’t expect that after scoring a beautiful goal.”

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