Cup success could cost us our league place, laments Birmingham boss Alex McLeish

20 February 2011 04:38
Alex McLeish is concerned Birmingham's push for cup glory on two fronts may take its toll on his ultimate goal - Barclays Premier League survival.[LNB]Blues will contest the Carling Cup final next weekend and are also through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after disposing of Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 at St. Andrew's yesterday.[LNB] Point to prove: McLeish is hoping Cup success won't distract his players from their league duties[LNB]McLeish was able to give some of his key players a rare break against the Owls.[LNB] The Blues boss said: 'It is great to be involved in the cup competitions at this stage.[LNB]'But I hope it doesn't take its toll in terms of our premier goal, which is Premier League status.[LNB]'My big craving is the Premier League.[LNB]'We definitely don't want the cup runs to take the steam out of the players.'[LNB] Smart move: Martins (centre) celebrates after scoring his first goal for the Blues at St.Andrews[LNB] McLeish added: 'I know they have got enormous character but, when I look back at the last league game against Newcastle, we looked flat and short of inspiration.[LNB]'That is always the danger, that the longer the season goes, some minds become tired as well as the bodies. I think mental tiredness is the biggest concern.[LNB]'That's why being able to recharge the batteries of a few of them this weekend was a Godsend.[LNB]'We left out a few players for next week's final which should benefit us.'[LNB] Hleb will have a scan in the next 24hours after being stretchered off against the Owls after setting up theopening two goals for Jean Beausejour and Obafemi Martins.[LNB]The fiery Scot revealed: 'He was limpingheavily after the game. It doesn't look good. It could be his medial ligament. We will see what the scan says but we are a bit concerned.'[LNB] Spell on the sidelines: Hleb is stretchered after picking up an injury in the Blues FA Cup win[LNB] McLeish substituted key defender Roger Johnson midway through the second half, after he had been booked, to avoid a possible sending-off.[LNB]Johnson looked far from happy, banging his fists against the dug-out, and it needed first team coach Peter Grant to calm him down with a quiet word in his ear.[LNB]But McLeish insisted: 'I did the sensible thing when taking the big fellow (Johnson) off.[LNB]'It was right. He plays with passion and was a bit on fire at the time.[LNB]'He had got the booking and he is that eager to get in front of the strikers and beat them in the air, which he has done so well.[LNB]'I thought if he mistimed a tackle, he could get a second yellow card and that would be disastrous for us as a team (for the final).[LNB]'We need Roger. He has been a stalwart since he has come to this club.'[LNB] Beausejour and Martins both scored their first goals for Birmingham before half-time and then David Murphy netted the third early in the second period to kill off the tie.[LNB] Birmingham 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0: Hleb injury casts shadow on Cup strollBentley closes the book on Tottenham and begins a new story at BirminghamBirmingham wrap up new four-year deal for promising youngster Mutch [LNB]  Explore more:People: Roger Johnson, David Murphy, Obafemi Martins, Alex McLeish Places: Birmingham, Newcastle

Source: Daily_Mail