Hughton pleased with display
Birmingham boss not down after defeat
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey. Last Updated: September 22, 2011 9:19am
Birmingham boss Chris Hughton hailed his side's performance at Manchester City as the holders bowed out of the Carling Cup.
The Blues went down 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium, but Hughton was far from down about the result.
Goals from Owen Hargreaves and Mario Balotelli did the damage for Man City, as they booked their passage into the fourth round.
"Of course we came here wanting to win the game but at the same time we also knew that would be a big task because of the quality City have got," Hughton said.
"But what was also important was that we gave a good account of ourselves and exerted ourselves on the game. We did that and I'm very pleased, particularly with how we performed in the second half.
"We restricted City and their two goals had to come from two very good moments of quality, which we know they've got in abundance, because other than those opportunities - which were actually only half-chances that they finished very well - we held a top side at bay.
"And we grew into the game. We got on the ball better in the second half and put City under pressure. We created chances and were unlucky not to score.
"I think the travelling fans - who once again were magnificent in their support appreciated what they saw tonight and would agree that we got better and better as the game went by."
Hughton was pleased to see Nikola Zigic and Keith Fahey return to action, adding: "There were undoubtedly positives. Keith came back into the side after having an operation recently and did well. It was tempting to leave him on for longer but having been out injured we decided not to risk it.
"Seeing Nikola return to action was a real plus-point too and although he only played for 20 minutes or so he showed touches of the undoubted quality that he has.
"We also had a chance to see Jonathan Spector at right-back and both Guirane N'Daw and Jean Beausejour really grew into the game and started to impose themselves as time went by. It was also great experience for Nathan Redmond to play in this arena.
"We are naturally disappointed to lose and to be out of the competition but there is a lot we can take from the experience."