x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Premier League reports: Birmingham ease relegation worries against Sunderland

Birmingham City beat Sunderland 2-0, Wigan beat relegation rivals Blackpool 3-1 and a late Gabriel Agbonlahor for Aston Villa goal sinks West Ham.

Birminham City 2 // Sunderland 0

Steve Bruce, the Sunderland manager, admits his side are in the thick of a relegation battle after being beaten 2-0 at his former club Birmingham.

They have taken one point from the last nine games after being contenders for a European spot in January. Said Bruce: "We are in [a relegation battle], no question about it. There are 10 teams in it and we are one of them. We've got to try and arrest that slump."

Blackpool 1 // Wigan 3

Blackpool's Ian Holloway blamed his side's defeat to Wigan on their slack defending, which contributed to Wigan's first two goals. "It's just unbelievable," he told Sky Sports.

"We might as well have got a shotgun and blown off both of our feet." Defeat puts Blackpool in the bottom three, but Holloway said: "I believe that we will bounce back, we have a fight on our hands and I believe that suits us better."

Everton 2 // Blackburn 0

Blackburn's manager Steve Kean claimed not to be worried as his side slipped deeper into relegation trouble with a dismal defeat at Everton. Rovers are now just two points above the relegation zone and without a win in nine games.

Kean, who has not overseen an away win since December, said: "The overall performance was of two totally different halves. We were by far the better in the first and they were the better in the second."

West Brom 1 // Chelsea 3

Carlo Ancelotti believes Didier Drogba has a long-term future at Chelsea. With Fernando Torres on the bench, Drogba produced a superb display at West Brom.

Said the coach: "As we know, Didier had a problem with malaria and lost a few months when he was not 100 per cent. But when he is, every time he is able to use his abilities, his power for the team, and he has a body that can continue for a long time."

West Ham 1 // Aston Villa 2

Gerard Houllier, the Aston Villa manager, hailed his side's fighting spirit after they came from a goal down, scoring in the last minute to beat relegation-haunted West Ham at Upton Park.

"In a fight against relegation, you need character and you need composure," Houllier said. "You can't have egos in the team and you can't have grudges. You have got to put away your own personality and work for each other."