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Pearson salutes collective fight

Nigel Pearson praised the collective fight that saw City score three goals in victory away from home for the third successive game.

And the manager was especially delighted with the clean sheet that was the bedrock of the victory at St Andrews Stadium, which followed 3-1 triumphs at Middlesbrough and Swansea City last month.

After home defeats to Bournemouth and QPR, Pearson demanded a reaction from the Robins – and he certainly got that with some real bite to their play that resulted in Kasey Palmer, Antoine Semenyo and Callum O’Dowda on the scoresheet.

Watch: Pearson reacts to win at St Andrew's. 📺👇🏻

Clean sheet delight

Asked whether he was more pleased with the clean sheet or the three goals, Pearson told Robins TV: “You're asking a defender and I'm going to have to say the clean sheet. It takes a collective effort to get that and a mentality of playing in a game like this, where we knew it was not going to be as easier proposition as possibly the scoreline would suggest.

"Birmingham are a very direct side who are quite physical and we needed to deal with a lot of set-plays coming into our penalty area. So we adjusted how we were going to do that in this game and I thought the players, to a man, were really determined to protect our goal.”

Jack Hunt was part of an impressive all round team effort to keep a clean sheet

Work rate pays off

Pearson praised the effort of his squad, adding: “The amount of physical work that we put into the game allowed us to make the most of our possession because it was a difficult game but when you've got pace and power and players who like to counter-attack, it allows us to play to our strengths.

“I'm really pleased for the players today because it was important we got a response after last week; the game against QPR was not what any of us were looking for.”

Forwards as defenders

The sight of Nahki Wells heading a cross clear in his own box was an example of the collective effort that delighted Pearson, who said: “It was important that we set up in a way where we were firstly solid, but actually I really enjoy when a team's forwards still understand the importance of defending and all of them really did show a lot of their understanding of what the team needs.

“But I don't want to either discourage them or de-motivate them from thinking they're not going to get opportunities and how we played today was really positive for them, because they all felt they would have a goalscoring chance at some opportunity.”

Kasey Palmer impressed in and out of possession

Oh Kasey Palmer!

Palmer opened the scoring, with his celebration a nod to the birth of Zayn, the newest edition to the Palmer household.

Pearson said: “It was a really good goal wasn't it? Some of his closing down and some of the the pressing that he did was very, very good. I don't really like to single people out because I could talk about all the players today and their individual contributions, but collectively there was a cohesion about how we went about trying to win the game and that for me is the most pleasing aspect of today.”

Antoine Semenyo celebrates his déjà vu moment after scoring his second league goal for City

Semenyo at it again

Semenyo was rewarded for pressurising goalkeeper Neil Etheridge in the same way that he had Swansea’s Freddie Woodman two weeks ago as the ball rebounded off him for his second league goal.

Pearson said: “Antoine illustrated that point very well for the two goals that he scored against Swansea and then again today. He's explosive and, as a defender, when you feel that you don't have time you make mistakes. He's put the goalkeeper, on both those occasions, under incredible pressure and reaped the rewards for his honesty and opportunism, so good for him.”

Callum O'Dowda scores with his second touch after coming on in the 76th minute

O’Dowda back with a goal

O’Dowda scored with his second touch – his first was to latch on to Palmer’s perfect through ball – while Liam Walsh played his first City game in two years and Marley Watkins shored things up in the last 10 minutes as he also marked his return from injury.

Pearson added: “I think when you look at the squad today and for all of us, for the players on the pitch, for us as staff - and I don't want to be disrespectful or to the youngsters who played a really important part and it’s great for them to get opportunities - but it is reassuring to have different options of quality.

“From their own personal perspective, to finally feel that they've got a really good chance of having a run-in the side is very important. So again, it's a collective feel for me. It's not just about them as individuals being in a position where they feel happy to be back and a part of it. One of the spin-offs is we get a greater and more healthy competition for places and I really like that.”

Blackburn Rovers up next

City are back in action at Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday, March 17th (7.45pm KO) live on Robins TV.

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