More woe for Blues but Zola won’t quit

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Jonathan Veal

GIAN­FRANCO Zola is adamant he will still be in charge of Birm­ing­ham for their Easter Mon­day ding-dong with Bur­ton.

Dis­grun­tled Blues fans made their feel­ings known, chant­ing for the Ital­ian’s head, af­ter their side be­came the first team to fail to beat Rother­ham since Fe­bru­ary 11.

A first three points in eight games looked on the cards when Kerim Frei con­verted a delicious 25-yard free-kick in the 73rd minute, but Danny Ward’s lev­eller 12 min­utes later stopped a run of ten suc­ces­sive Millers de­feats.

The draw leaves Blues just four points above the drop zone ahead of a ‘must-win’ game with Bur­ton.

“Why should I leave be­fore the end of the sea­son?” a de­fi­ant Zola said. “I don’t leave things un­done. I can han­dle the sit­u­a­tion so why should I leave?

“We have four games to play. We need those points to be safe, then we will fo­cus on next sea­son. Then I will say things that have to be said. At the end of the sea­son I will say a few things and we will as­sess the sit­u­a­tion. I will be the first one to take the re­spon­si­bil­ity for things.

“I am not happy. I have not been happy for a long time, I am wait­ing for the break but it is dif­fi­cult to get it.

“We are all dis­ap­pointed. We had dif­fer­ent ex­pec­ta­tions for us.”

Rother­ham, rel­e­gated to League One a fort­night ago, had not reg­is­tered a point since a 1-1 draw with Black­burn two months ago and another de­feat looked on the cards when Frei sent in a su­perb free-kick with only 17 min­utes left.

The Millers ral­lied, though, and lev­elled when Ward cut in­side and fired into the bot­tom cor­ner and they should have been cel­e­brat­ing a first three points since Jan­uary but Jerry Yates em­bar­rass­ingly missed a sit­ter at the death.

“My over­rid­ing emo­tion is con­tent­ment be­cause of the run we have been on and they scored a won­der goal with the free­kick,” boss Paul Warne said.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult job when things are go­ing quite right, they could eas­ily down tools.

“Although we could have taken all three points I am still tak­ing pride for the sec­ond half. They had a right go.

“I am edged with a bit of dis­ap­point­ment be­cause of the chance we had at the end but I am pretty buoy­ant.

“It feels pretty amaz­ing. If Jerry scored we would have cel­e­brated like we’d have been pro­moted.

“It was nice to get at least one point.”


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