Harlee Dean: I take full responsibility

I take full responsibility.

Harlee Dean

Blues captain Harlee Dean has fronted up and said the buck stops with him after Tuesday's loss to Derby County.

Defeat to the Rams was Blues’ fourth in a row at home and the skipper is not shirking any responsibility as 2020 comes to a close.

Facing the media, Dean, who has been at the Club since 2017, offered an honest assessment of recent performances, with particular focus on the meeting with Derby.

Speaking via zoom from the Trillion Trophy Training Centre on Thursday afternoon, the captain could not be criticised for hiding in the face of any backlash.  

He said: “At home, it just hasn’t been good enough. For Tuesday night I take full responsibility. I feel like I have been playing well this year. People look at you as a captain, as a leader of a club, a big club as well, and you need to be relied upon and solid all the time.

“We conceded a goal from Ethers [Neil Etheridge] who has done really well this season, but little things like that when you’re in a moment and for some reason at home when we go a goal down, we think not again. I then go and make a rash penalty decision, we lose another goal, and then I go and lose a man for the fourth goal.

“That’s not good enough from me personally and mistakes like that in the team are not giving anybody a chance in the team to get a result. I know I’ve got to be better and I know that I am strong enough and can sit here and say that it won’t happen again on Saturday if selected.”

Despite the midweek setback, the defender rightly referred to the progress made under Aitor Karanka as he looked forward to 2021’s first match against Blackburn Rovers.

He said: “We are a better team because we are picking up results away from home. We are working hard. But perhaps we are expecting too much too soon. We have got to build on last season.

“He’s a top manager with a top pedigree. He’s been promoted from this league and he knows football. He has made us better players and a better team in such a short spell. You have to take into account we haven’t had that much time on the training pitch because we have had so many games.

“I’m confident with him and we’re confident with him. He can’t legislate for us making mistakes on the pitch – you can’t blame the manager for that. We have got to take ownership for that, and I take ownership myself.”

Dean also responded to recent criticism of him and his teammates, reiterating their commitment to improving Blues’ home form and performing consistently in the second-half of the season.

He said: “We all care; we all have pride and passion. I know that is sometimes questioned and when you are at a big team, with a big fan base, you are going to come under scrutiny and you have to deal with it. We want to put it right and we have a lot of senior professionals in the team who know what’s needed, it’s just a case of actually doing it now.”

You can watch Blues take on Blackburn in their first home game of 2021 live on BluesTV for £10.