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THE JOL VERDICT

Posted on 21 March 2006  - 12:00

The Head Coach takes a look back at the win at Birmingham on Saturday - our fifth away victory of the season so far...

The Head Coach takes a look back at the win at Birmingham on Saturday - our fifth away victory of the season so far...

I AM OBVIOUSLY pleased that we managed to record our fifth away win of the season against Birmingham on Saturday afternoon. I have said before that we need seven or eight away victories - along with a good home record - to be in a good position, so it will be exciting for us now.

It was never likely to be a great spectacle, given the need of both teams for the points, and the first half was pretty scrappy. They wouldn't let us play our game or build up attacks, but it was okay because we kept a clean sheet. They had one chance when Emile Heskey got past Ledley King and went through down the right flank and got his cross in. I thought Michael Dawson did very well, because often that would end up in an own goal and he didn't do that.

In the second half they couldn't pressurise us any more and it was a time where we started playing and I think we were a bit better than them. We used our pace up front and it resulted in a terrific win.

We had a different balance to our side, Aaron Lennon gave us some pace up front and he delivered. He is more experienced now and is getting better and better with every game. At the start of the season we knew it would be a challenge, Jermaine Jenas needed to score goals and it was not a big feature of his time at Newcastle.

He had the potential to do it and he has now scored six. Lennon is the same, if they can produce over the course of the season we will benefit. Michael Carrick also, he should score three or four goals and I want him getting his shots in. Up front they are doing it and making a difference.

We got a clean sheet against Birmingham, a habit we had earlier in the season, but the month of February was very disappointing because we gave easy goals away. It is often about balance, we are still not there, but we are in fourth spot so there are a lot of positives.

We knew the other results had not gone for us before kick-off at St Andrews and this will be the case on many weeks. We have to get our results and if we do that we won't have to focus on other teams. We need our wins, Arsenal, Blackburn, Bolton and Wigan will ensure it is a big battle until the end of the season.