​Birmingham City manager Gianfranco Zola paid tribute to Jonjo Shelvey's impact after the Blues fell 3-1 to Championship leaders Newcastle in the FA Cup third round replay.

Shelvey, who returned from suspension, while failing to score himself was key in all of his side's goals and stood in as captain in the absence of Jamaal Lascelles.

"When he's [Shelvey] on the pitch he runs the show," said Zola after the match, as quoted by the ​Shields Gazette

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"He's very influential. He has a presence on the pitch."

"It's not pleasant, for sure. I keep saying a lot of things are happening, but at the end of the day, it's been too long that a victory hasn't come, so that's the disappointing bit.

"But again, I have been long enough in football to understand when something is progressing well and it won't be long before this team is going to be winning a lot of games. 

"When you are playing against teams like Newcastle, who have bright players – very clever players – they take advantage of anything and that's exactly what happened."

Zola is without a win so far as Birmingham manager, giving him the unwanted title of the being the first ever Blues manager to fail to win any of his opening seven games.

Newcastle on the other hand sit top of England's second tier and will now take on Oxford on Saturday January 28.