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Garry Monk: 'Birmingham City will get better once players have settled'

Birmingham City manager Garry Monk praises the "endeavour, fight and commitment" shown by his side in their 1-0 loss against Middlesbrough.

Garry Monk has insisted that Birmingham City have started to show signs that they will soon click into gear following a slow start to the new campaign.

The Blues, who brought in five new players during the summer transfer window - the majority of them late on - have kicked off their 2018-19 season with a 2-2 draw against Norwich City and 1-0 loss at Middlesbrough.

Monk believes that his players deserve credit for their battling qualities at the Riverside Stadium, having been reduced to 10 men following Gary Gardner's straight red, and is confident of Brum's form turning around.

"We showed a lot of endeavour, fight and commitment," he told reporters after the loss to his former employers. "We were always going to have to but it's a league that demands you to be on your game from the start, especially away from home against probably one of the strongest squads in the league and a team that there is a demand on to get promotion this year.

"You have to be on your game from the start and in that first half we didn't make enough right decisions. There were quite a few times when we caused our own problems and that gave them the momentum. We made it too easy for them in the first half. Then it was 1-0, they could maybe have scored another goal as well.

"But when you come in at half time and it's 1-0 I spoke to the lads, 'we have to put ourselves in this game'. And we did that in the second half without being at our best. But it's very early days, we have got some new players, everyone is getting to know each other properly and we will get better.

"The fighting spirit is there but you have to be on your game in this league against these types of teams away from home. Second half we did it a lot better that we did in the first half. Unfortunately the red card made it even more difficult towards the end."

Britt Assombalonga scored the only goal of the game on Saturday, with Boro going on to hit the woodwork three times and having an effort cleared off the line.

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