Birmingham City: John Eustace praises Hannibal debut after completing Man Utd loan move

The Tunisian international came off the bench for the Blues against Norwich City on Tuesday.

Birmingham City suffered their fourth league defeat of the campaign on Tuesday evening thanks to an injury-time winner from Norwich City’s Onel Hernandez.

The Blues had to wait until after the break to find the opener. Scott Hogan grabbed his second goal of the season, poking home Juninho Bacuna’s cross in the 50th minute.

Norwich equalised 13 minutes later through Andrew Omobamidele. The hosts failed to clear a free-kick from the Canaries, allowing the Ireland international, after a scramble in the box, to find the back of the net.

With little time remaining in the game, former Birmingham loanee Hernandez, who spent the second half of last campaign at St Andrew’s, slotted the ball past John Ruddy to give Norwich the three points.

Despite the loss, Blues boss John Eustace wasn’t too downbeat about his team’s performance, which saw new loan signing Hannibal Mejbri make his debut for the club.

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The Tunisian international joined Birmingham on a season-long loan on Monday evening and Eustace outlined what the midfielder can bring to his team this season.

“Energy, enthusiasm, he is a Manchester United player, technically he is very good and, hopefully, he can entertain the crowd a little bit and get us up the pitch and also work very hard off the ball as well,” the Blues boss told the club’s media team following the game.

"He is a 19-year-old and hasn’t been on loan before. So, this is his first experience of that at this level - very difficult. Lots to come from him but he has also got a lot to learn as well."

Mejbri played the last 30 minutes of the defeat, which also featured six of the Blues academy stars - an occasion where several young players stood out.

“I am really disappointed to lose the game, I thought the lads were magnificent,” Eustace added. “We let ourselves down at Rotherham on Saturday for the first time this season I feel. To bounce back with the attitude and desire, was different class.

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"I am very proud with the performance, just disappointed to lose the game. But to finish the game with six under-19s on the pitch just shows where we are at.

"Those lads have come on and were magnificent. Alfie Chang who started was top. I think Josh [Williams] got through a real sticky period in that first-half and he came through it and was outstanding."

Birmingham will be looking to grab their second league win of the campaign when they travel to Deepdale on Saturday to take on Preston North End.