Birmingham head coach Aitor Karanka hailed Lukas Jutkiewicz after the striker scored a last-minute winner in a 2-1 victory over Huddersfield following his recovery from Covid-19.
Jutkiewicz, who missed two games recently after testing positive, came off the bench to give Birmingham their first win in seven games after Isaac Mbenza cancelled out Gary Gardner’s opener.
“I am so pleased for Jukey,” said Karanka. “He was ready to play the first day he went home (self-isolating).
“We were in touch with him and he was desperate to come back. He felt bad on one or two days but the rest of the time he was working the way the doctors allowed him to.
“He’s a player who can score and we know when he’s on the pitch he will always give 150 per cent.
“It was a really difficult finish because of the moment of the game when it came – we were defending. It was really important for him and for the team.”
Karanka insisted Birmingham deserved their victory.
“One hundred per cent we deserved this win because maybe if you’d seen only the last 30 minutes you’d think I was wrong, but if you’d seen the first half, we could have been winning 2-0 or 3-0,” he added.
“We were comfortable – we scored a goal and we had another two or three clear chances and then in the second half we were defending and organised.
“Even after we conceded the goal, the attitude and mentality was amazing and we came back again, which was really important for us.”
Huddersfield manager Carlos Corberan felt his side deserved at least a point after a dominant second-half performance.
“It was hard to take, especially after the second half we had and we tried our best,” he said.
“I think we needed the second half we had but the team didn’t start the game the way we should have done.
“In the first half we had the ball but we didn’t create the chances we should have.
“We didn’t deal well with one set-piece and they scored a goal. We knew they would be focusing on counter-attacks and set-pieces – that was the way we expected them to play.
“But it was hard to take after the second half we played. We will have to analyse how we played in the first half because we played really well but we should have created more chances. We didn’t do enough.
“We created enough chances in the second half but only had one lapse in defence.
“The team improved and it was hard to take because we deserved a point and that was the minimum we should have had.”
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