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Reaction: Blues 0 Watford 1

I knew today that we were going to play against a Premier League team if you look at them player for player. At half-time I told the players that we had been doing really well but we needed to believe that we could win this game.

Aitor Karanka

Blues Head Coach Aitor Karanka felt his team were unlucky to be edged out by Watford at St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium.

It appeared Blues would be taking at least a point until Troy Deeney converted an 85th-minute penalty.

The Sky Bet Championship defeat was Blues first loss in three matches, coming on the back of successive away wins at Bristol City and Reading.

Despite the setback, Karanka was keen to emphasise how pleased he was with the team’s performance and that it was fine margins, such as hitting the post through Mikel San Jose, which determined the outcome.

Speaking to the assembled media he said: “A goal would have especially helped our confidence. The team was playing really well and were confident against a Premier League side. One goal can change everything but again I am really proud of the players.”

The Head Coach continued in his positive assessment of the afternoon’s work against a side who had spent the previous five seasons in the top flight.

He said: “I knew today that we were going to play against a Premier League team if you look at them player for player. At half-time I told the players that we had been doing really well but we needed to believe that we could win this game. In the second half, we had the game under control, they only had the chance through [Troy] Deeney. We were really consistent and confident with the ball, but when I thought everything was under control the penalty and sending off arrived.”

Saturday’s game was Blues’ fourth of eight in December and the Spaniard told the press pack of the challenges in managing his squad during the season’s busiest period but also reiterated how proud he was at their continued efforts.

He said: “It has been difficult, because [Jeremie] Bela could not play, Jon Toral having not played for a while it was hard to manage three games in a row, [Ivan] Sanchez finished the game exhausted and with pain. I changed the shape and put out a team to compete against Watford. I knew it would be difficult but the players on the pitch were going to play with the intensity we have played with in the recent games.”

The flurry of fixtures saw Karanka make five changes from the success in Berkshire on Wednesday, with the 47-year-old confident that all his squad are ready to play their part in the campaign.

He said: “I am building a team and a squad because after a few months working together the players know they have to be ready. I don’t care about the names I just want to put out the best team for each game. The players who haven’t played today have to train and win their position again; those who played today did really well. Everyone can see we have really good players.”

Blues return to action on the road at Cardiff this Wednesday and you can keep up to date with all the latest news here on BCFC.com and by following the Club’s social channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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