Birmingham City manager Pep Clotet has suggested that Birmingham’s full-backs are playing a key role in the Blues’ encouraging start to the campaign, ahead of their trip to Cardiff City this weekend.
The Blues have relied on both Maxime Colin from right-back and Kristian Pedersen for a lot of their attacking width at times in the opening months of the season, and the pair have responded really well to the extra attacking demands being placed on them so far this term, with Colin scoring one goal and creating three assists and Pederson scoring twice already.
However, it is not just their attacking play which has been impressive, with both Colin and Pedersen offering strong defensive performances at times to help the Blues remain solid and compact when out of possession, and with the likes of Steve Seddon and Wes Harding in reserve the Blues have plenty of strength in depth in the full-back area.
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail ahead of Birmingham’s trip to Cardiff City on Saturday, Clotet suggested that the Blues’ full-backs play a key role in his side and that they have a good balance in that position, saying: “It’s very important. Years ago, full-backs didn’t attack and there were some teams that recycled centre-backs into full-backs.
“The secret is making sure you have the right balance and I think we do have the right balance in the squad with Maxime and Kristian and with Sedds and Wes the younger ones coming through.
“It’s very important for me to let the full-backs attack in the right situation but not all the time.
“It’s up to the player to decide when that situation is but it’s important that the player has the freedom to express himself and to take that risk.
“Football is a game of risk versus reward and sometimes you need to take a risk to get a big reward. If two full-backs go up you’re maybe taking too much risk.”
Clotet is right to highlight the important role his full-backs have played in the Blues’ positive start to the season, with both Colin and Pedersen thriving with greater license to get forwards on the overlap and provide real attacking width for the Blues, allowing Birmingham’s wide players to drift inside and create problems for their opponents.
The pair have also helped Birmingham maintain a solid shape out of possession and have been very effective at recovering back into position on the transition, something which Clotet has been keen to instill in the pair so far this season, and it is certainly paying off in the opening months of the campaign.
Birmingham also have both Seddon and Harding to call upon if needed, and the pair have come in and performed reasonably well in the limited minutes that they have been given so far this season by Clotet, which suggests that the Blues should not lose too much momentum if one of their first choice full-backs picks up an injury or a suspension.