Birmingham City boss Aitor Karanka has suggested that the Championship club need to trust the process in the way that Leeds United did with Marcelo Bielsa if they’re to have success.
The Spaniard took charge of the Blues in the summer and has made a solid if a little underwhelming start to the 2020/21 campaign, with his side currently sitting 17th in the table.
Birmingham narrowly avoided relegation last term so Karanka will likely feel he has made progress already.
Speaking to Birmingham Live ahead of his side’s game against Millwall, the 47-year-old coach suggested that he was aiming for long-term success.
He said: “It is difficult to play well when you don’t have time to work on the pitch with players who have not played the previous season and with the core of a squad that finished near bottom of the table the last two or three years.
“To change their mentality is not easy.
“To keep their consistency – we are doing it. The next step is to try to win games but this is not a one hundred yard sprint, I like to win the marathon.
“The day we win the marathon is because we are winning every single sprint.”
In doing so, Karanka drew comparisons between his situation and the faith that has been put in Bielsa at Elland Road.
He said: “It is not just me, if you look at the clubs that have been successful in the last years – look at Leeds.
“Even with Marcelo Bielsa, who has been nominated one of the best five coaches in the world, they took three years spending money and bringing top players to get promotion.”
Promotion looks a little way off for the Blues at the moment, as they sit eight points back from the top six and 12 adrift from league leaders Norwich City.
In the four years since Gary Rowett’s exit, Birmingham have had six permanent managers as well as multiple caretaker bosses and that indicates how much the club needs stability and continuity moving forward.
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You can certainly see where Karanka is coming from here.
He’s clearly keen to build something long-term and recognises that success at Birmingham is not likely to come easy.
Drawing comparisons with a manager recognised by many as one of the best in the world is bold but the Spaniard isn’t looking to put himself at that level, merely to outline that he needs time.
At this point, Blues fans will likely be hoping that he gets just that.