Birmingham City striker Lukas Jutkiewicz says retaining a good team spirit is the key to Championship survival this season.The 28-year-old is playing under his fifth different Blues boss since being signed by Gary Rowett in August 2016.And he says current incumbent Steve Cotterill has stressed the importance of being together as a team.
“He’s a huge advocate of having a tight bond, about being brothers once you cross the white line,” said Jutkiewicz.After a 1-0 victory over then leaders Cardiff City in Cotterill’s first game in charge, Birmingham have blown hot and cold, winning just once, against Nottingham Forest, in seven games – also 1-0, also at home, also thanks to a Che Adams goal.They face the same challenge of trying to again topple the leaders when neighbours Wolves come to St Andrew’s next Monday night with a four-point advantage, ahead of the weekend’s fixtures.But Blues are in better spirits after following the win over Forest with a highly encouraging 1-1 draw at high-flying Sheffield United.Changing faces in Small HeathSince Gary Rowett was surprisingly sacked following a 2-1 home win over Ipswich on 14 December 2016, Blues have had four managers.Gianfranco Zola: 126 days. 24 games, 2 wins, 14 defeats Harry Redknapp: 153 days. 13 games, 4 wins, 8 defeatsLee Carsley (caretaker): 13 days. 3 games, 1 defeat Steve Cotterill; 58 days. 8 games, 2 wins, 4 defeats ‘Lean on one other’At Bramall Lane on Saturday, Blues took the lead and played for the first time with a back three of summer Redknapp signings Marc Roberts and Harlee Dean, and recalled club captain Michael Morrison, who was Rowett’s first recruit three years ago.”They didn’t have a huge amount of time to work together after the midweek game (at Middlesbrough),” said Jutkiewicz, who was last season’s top scorer with 11 goals. “But there were a lot of signs from the three of them that they can play well together.”After early season injury problems, he has netted just once this season in a 1-1 draw at Rowett’s Derby in September, when Lee Carsley was caretaker boss.Having started against Sheffield United, he says what is needed now is to retain the sense of team spirit they had under Rowett, lost during Zola’s tenure, briefly recaptured with Harry Redknapp at the end of last season and are now starting to find again under Cotterill.”You have to create that tight unit,” he said. “It’s not easy when results are not going your way, but it’s also kind of when you need it the most.”We all need to take responsibility, to talk to each other, lift each other, guide each other through the game and lean on one another.”You try to help people integrate into the squad the best they can. There was a huge turnaround of players around the August window then, a week or so later, the manager they signed for isn’t here any more.”It’s certainly been difficult. But, with results not being the way we’d want is what makes it difficult. It makes it mentally a challenge. But we can rise to that challenge and create a bit of stability by performing.”Lukas Jutkiewicz was talking to BBC WM’s Richard Wilford.
Source: BBC Black Country