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Birmingham manager Aitor Karanka dismisses relegation talk

Birmingham manager Aitor Karanka dismisses relegation talk
© Reuters
The visitors lie within three points of the drop zone following a goalless stalemate.

Birmingham manager Aitor Karanka has insisted he is not worried about relegation despite his team falling to within three points of the Championship's bottom three as a result of their 0-0 draw at Wycombe.

The Blues have now won just one of their last 10 games and, thanks to Nottingham Forest's win against Coventry, are now fourth from bottom in the table.

Sheffield Wednesday's win at Bournemouth also drew them closer to danger, following a night where Birmingham were left frustrated by Ryan Allsop's heroics in goal for the hosts.

Karanka said: "When I came here, I knew it was going to be a tough season. It's impossible to think about being in a higher position when the team was going in the way it was going last year.

"We brought in players without spending money, and in the market we bought players without spending the money that other teams had.

"We're not complaining, it's just to show the reality for everybody.

"We knew it was going to be difficult and it's been difficult, so we'll just keep going.

"It's a shame because we played a good game, we had a lot of chances and from our chances their keeper was super and we didn't score.

"It's difficult to accept, once again, when we're playing like we did today and we are not winning games, but it is time to keep a strong mentality, to keep going because once again we have shown we are creating chances."

Wycombe came closest to scoring in the first half when Birmingham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge did superbly to keep out Uche Ikpeazu's deflected effort.

Allsop then shone after the break, with exceptional saves from Mikel San Jose and Maxime Colin, before Birmingham's Marc Roberts was sent off late on for a cynical lunge on Fred Onyedinma.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth said: "It wouldn't have looked out of place in League Two – no disrespect to League Two, but there was very limited moments of quality out there.

"I think what was Premier League was probably the two goalkeepers – I think both made what were match-saving saves.

"Ryan Allsop has made a couple and Neil Etheridge had one in the first half that was deflected and he was going the wrong way to start with, that was an unbelievable save.

"I think if anyone comes out with credit, it's the goalkeepers and that's usually the story of a 0-0.

"I'm pleased after Saturday [when Wycombe lost 7-2 at Brentford] because we progressed a great deal and that was important.

"Either team nicking it would have been unjust – they probably had the share of the chances over us, but I'm pleased that we've battled well against a very strong Birmingham side."

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Tuesday's key events

· Team GB trio Vicky Holland, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth all have realistic medal hopes in the women's event (10.30pm-1am)

· After an impressive opening day, Great Britain play their final group game against a Fiji side level with them at the top of the pool, but also yet to hit their brilliant best (1.30am)

· After disappointment for friend and housemate Jade Jones, Bianca Walkden will go for gold in the women's +67kg category (2am-2.30pm)
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· Team GB's Duncan Scott has the chance to claim his first individual Olympic medal in the men's 200m freestyle final. Teammate Tom Dean is also involved. (2.43am)
· Kathleen Dawson is the Team GB representative in the women's 100m backstroke final (2.51am)

· Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson will look to emulate Tom Daley and Matty Lee's success in the women's 10m synchro final (7am-8am)

· Three-time Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin is part of a Team GB team going for gold in the dressage team Grand Prix final (9.30am)

· Superstar Simone Biles leads the United States side in the women's team final (11.45am-2.10pm)

· Team GB's women's team play their final group game, taking on Canada with qualification for the knockout rounds already secured (12pm)

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