Bruce: We'll keep fighting
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Birmingham City boss Steve Bruce has not given up hope of avoiding relegation.
Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce has not given up hope of avoiding Premiership relegation, despite suffering a painful 3-1 defeat at arch-rivals Aston Villa on Easter Sunday.
Two goals from Milan Baros and a spectacular volley from young centre back Gary Cahill helped Villa secure the bragging rights in the Second City derby, as Blues remain three points adrift of safety in the table.
Though the result could prove pivotal to Birmingham's survival chances, Bruce stated there is plenty to fight for in their remaining four league matches.
"We're still in there with a chance," a defiant Bruce told Sky Sports.
"We would have loved to have got the victory today, which would have spurred everybody on.
"We've just got to keep sticking in there and believe that we can get out of it.
"It's going to take a big, huge effort, but we're prepared for that.
"We never like getting beat here, we've never been beaten here before in the four years we've been in the Premier League.
"It hurts because we know what it means to the supporters."
The former Manchester United captain thinks Villa got the rub of the green during the noon-hour contest and bemoaned further injury setbacks to Matthew Upson and David Dunn.
"Our afternoon was summed up at the start (with the injuries) and the big decisions in the key moments of the game, we felt a little bit aggrieved that they had gone Villa's way," Bruce added.
"For the first goal, there was a blatant foot up from (James) Milner from where I was sitting and for the second goal, we thought maybe (Kevin) Phillips was in an offside position.
"But with the start of the game with Dunn and Upson, that summed up our afternoon and the big key moments didn't go our way, unfortunately.
"We were in the game, our goalkeeper hadn't made a save before we went behind.
"We showed a bit of character to get back into it, but we should have dealt with the second goal and the third goal particularly better than we did.
"When goals go against you, you're always looking to analyse and see what's wrong, but we should be defending them set-pieces better than that."
Bruce thinks Portsmouth's run of form has put them in pole position to avoid the relegation trap door.
"Portsmouth are in the driving seat, the momentum is with them at the moment," Bruce said.
"They've had an unbelievable run for a team that was bottom of the league a couple of weeks ago.
"Who knows, there's still four games to play. We've obviously got to win one more than Portsmouth."
With Upson looking set to miss the rest of the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, Bruce reported further bad news regarding midfielder Dunn.
The former Blackburn Rovers player had to be replaced by striker Mikael Forssell just after the quarter hour mark after feeling discomfort in his leg.
"He's got a calf problem and with two or three weeks to go, I can't see him making most of the season either," Bruce said.