Tony Mowbray gives Michael Beale a sophisticated message and exposes the secret to Birmingham City’s revival

According to Tony Mowbray, he assured his players that they will overcome their one-goal disadvantage at the break on Saturday.

Matchday Musings: Sunderland not at their best, but get the job done  against Wazza's lads - Roker Report
As Mowbray faced his old team for the first time, Sunderland had taken the lead thanks to a goal from Jack Clarke, but after halftime, Jordan James and Koji Miyoshi altered the tide of the match.

The Birmingham manager acknowledged that he had made a few changes to his team at halftime, but he attributes the turnaround primarily to his players’ increased poise when handling the ball.

“We always try to be front-footed, I think the goal we conceded knocked our belief a little bit,” he stated.

“I’ve talked a lot about striking a balance between trying to build and trying to be positive. Sometimes you have to turn the opposition around and move up the pitch; other times, it’s pointless to attempt to develop and never cross the halfway line. In the second half, we performed that a little bit better.

“We’ve worked so hard on it that the word at halftime is that we will score. And this place will take off if we score one, allowing us to go on to score two or three. I’m really pleased of the group for their perseverance, drive, and ability to make it happen. They have been effective.

Sometimes the squad forgets to play because they are so nervous before the game. It was just a matter of soothing them down and letting them play in the areas we discussed since they wanted to compete. In my opinion, it was about [providing] the confidence that we will score if Koji goes deep into the little pocket, and where the full back is going if Koji stays wide. These were minor adjustments, nothing huge.

We need to get the bodies inside the box in order to score a goal. We were very much in it, but we went down 1-0. I didn’t think they were controlling the goal. The takeaway is that we are scoring and can either win or draw 1-1. Thank goodness, the stadium roared and they were on the verge of sucking the ball in when we scored the opening goal.

After the match, Mowbray says he spoke briefly with Michael Beale, his replacement at Sunderland, and advised the head coach to relish the trip despite the challenging times.

“I just wished him all the best, I know the club very well and I know what it must be like at this moment having lost two games this week,” he stated.

“They need to persevere and maintain their strength, believing in the ability of the football players they have.” Though I had an incredible 15 months there and it was a great location to work, I also want Sunderland to succeed. I want Birmingham City to win every game. I told Michael to simply have fun with it; every football job is an adventure and you have to have fun with it. Life is a trip, so don’t make it a burden, I don’t want to get too philosophical.

“They need to persevere and maintain their strength, believing in the ability of the football players they have.” I want Sunderland to flourish even though I had an amazing 15 months there and it was a terrific place to work. Every game, I want Birmingham City to win. I advised Michael to just enjoy himself; working in football is always an experience, so you have to enjoy yourself. Let life be a journey, not a burden; enough said; I don’t want to dive too far into philosophy.

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