McLeish: Players must savour Carling Cup final

23 February 2011 04:00

Alex McLeish has drawn on his own experience as a player in urging his Birmingham team to "relish every moment" of Sunday's Carling Cup final with Arsenal.

McLeish recalled how, as a young Scotland international, he allowed his first meeting with England "to pass me by" and he does not want his squad to fall into the same trap against the Gunners. It will be his first major final south of the border after winning 19 trophies as a player and manager in Scotland.

He said: "What is the message to players? Relish every moment of the final and don't let it pass you by."

He added: "I played my first game against England many years ago at Hampden Park and I was a young midfielder at that time against two wily characters in (Sir) Trevor Brooking and Terry McDermott.

"The game, I just never got into it at all. I suppose playing against two great players had something to do with that.

"But we don't want this occasion on Sunday to pass anybody by and, to be honest, we've got a lot of experience in that squad so the players shouldn't be fazed."

McLeish is hoping the final will not just be a one-off appearance on the big stage for his players and hopes Arsenal's heavy fixture list, as they chase four trophies, will count in City's favour.

McLeish said: "I hope it's a not once in a lifetime for the players. I hope there's more to come.

"It's my first cup final in England and I'd love to win it. I'd love it to be my first success in England and I hope there's more for the players.

"I've got to do everything I can in my power to win this trophy."

Source: PA