Mark Robins urges Coventry to build on Birmingham clean sheet

Mark Robins hopes Coventry can build on their clean sheet
Mark Robins hopes Coventry can build on their clean sheet (PA Wire)
23:10pm, Fri 20 Nov 2020
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Coventry boss Mark Robins said his side must use their second Sky Bet Championship clean sheet of the season as a “building block” after holding landlords Birmingham to a 0-0 draw at St Andrew’s.

After conceding 23 goals in their opening 11 games, the most in the second tier, the Sky Blues were grateful for the shut-out as Lukas Jutkiewicz missed three big opportunities for Birmingham.

They stay 21st, just two points above the bottom three and with only one win in their past 10 games, but Marko Marosi’s excellent late save, tipping a Jutkiewicz header on to the bar, secured a point.

Robins said: “It was difficult but we have to take the positives. They had one or two chances and Marko has made a brilliant save to get us a point.

“It was vital. That normally ends up in the back of our net – that’s normally about the time we concede goals.

“It was really important we kept a clean sheet. It was a brilliant save and a brilliant contribution from him because he hadn’t had a lot to do in the game.

“He kept his concentration, made a fantastic save and he gained us a point. It’s a building block because of what has happened in the last couple of games.

“If you are not conceding at one end, it means you are not wide open and we’ve not been keeping many clean sheets. That’s the second of the season and the first at home.”

But the defensive improvement came at a price as Coventry, without injured top scorer Matt Godden, struggled going forward. Neil Etheridge denied Tyler Walker from the Sky Blues’ only real opening.

“Obviously without Matty in there, he’s a player who is talismanic for us, he’s got great movement, he’s got the goals for us and he makes things happen. He’s a big miss,” Robins added.

Birmingham boss Aitor Karanka backed striker Jutkiewicz despite a difficult start to the season in which the forward has only netted once.

He nodded the first half’s best opportunity wide from six yards from Mikel San Jose’s cross and, after Marosi tipped his 82nd minute header on to the woodwork, he miscued wide from another low centre.

Karanka said: “We are disappointed because I think we should have won the game. We had much better chances than Coventry – I don’t remember one chance of theirs.

“But it is another point, another clean sheet and to not concede goals is important – two weeks ago we had conceded five goals in two games and that wasn’t good.

“Strikers know how important scoring runs are. Jukey has missed three chances but, for sure, next Tuesday he plays and he can score one or two or three – and after a run without scoring, they get their confidence and they start scoring.

“I am really pleased with Jukey because he gives us a lot of things, not just goals, his work ethic, everything and I am 100 per cent happy with him.”

Blues were in the unusual situation of being ‘visitors’ at their St Andrew’s home and Karanka added: “I have had I don’t know how many experiences in football and this was another one.

“I told the players before the game we had to forget where we were playing. But it was difficult to be in the away changing room and on the away bench.”

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