McLeish proud of Blues achievement

08 May 2010 04:32
irmingham manager Alex McLeish rates his success in the Premier League this season as comparable to his SPL-title winning season at Rangers.[LNB] On the eve of Sunday's final match of the campaign at Bolton, Birmingham are ninth and on course for their highest finish in 51 years.[LNB]The achievement has not been lost on McLeish, who is well aware his side were tipped to be relegation candidates on their return to the top flight.[LNB]The former Scotland boss said: "It is probably an achievement that we[LNB]will look back in years to come and feel it was better than we thought at[LNB]the time.[LNB]"We have been up there for so long and at times it bothered me that we[LNB]were not getting any higher.[LNB]"I did say that Everton, Sunderland, Stoke and Blackburn would come[LNB]through on the rails.[LNB]"But when I look at Birmingham being above those teams I have to pinch[LNB]myself.[LNB]"Our success is due to having a group of players with great mentalities[LNB]as we did have long spells of players appearing every week.[LNB]"There were some niggles in that period but they were cleared up quickly.[LNB]"It was really down to the confidence aspect.[LNB]"On a personal note it is all relative. Harry Redknapp's great achievement this season is getting into the Champions League. Our Champions League is staying in the Premier League.[LNB]"It compares to my spell at Rangers and winning the league. We were not[LNB]fancied at the start of the season but we changed people's opinions.[LNB]"We have made Birmingham fans happy which is a big part of the job.[LNB]"We realise that we have created a lot of history with our unbeaten run and obtaining a record number of points.[LNB]"When you are in the middle of something like that I do not get too worked up about it.[LNB]"No doubt in a few years time I will look back and say what a great[LNB]achievement it was.[LNB]"Currently I've forgotten about it and I'm already thinking about next[LNB]season.[LNB]"My mission is that in 12 months time I want to be talking about having[LNB]had another good season in the Premiership."[LNB]To make sure Birmingham build on their current success, McLeish knows[LNB]that will mean moving into the transfer market to strengthen his squad.[LNB]He has been assured by the club's owner, Carson Yeung, there will be money to spend and added: "The board was delighted in reaching the 50 points mark.[LNB]"Carson Yeung has been very supportive and I'm sure the Blackberry will be very busy![LNB]"We are looking to recruit new players which is not easy when you are looking for the right characters, the right type at the right resources for a club of our size.[LNB]"This is going to be difficult. I could easily take in five or six players right away but I need to be careful of the character I bring in.[LNB]"Hopefully we can make the right choices because you can never guarantee[LNB]anything."[LNB]While keen to bring players in, McLeish also has to decide if he wants to[LNB]ship any out.[LNB]Chief among his thoughts is the on-loan Ecuadorian international striker[LNB]Christian Benitez.[LNB]Birmingham have an option to make his move from the Mexican side Santos[LNB]Laguna permanent.[LNB]The option runs out on May 25 and McLeish, who has previously hinted[LNB]Birmingham could seek to re-negotiate the fee of around £7million, is continuing to keep his cards close to his chest.[LNB]Benitez only scored his first goal at St Andrew's last weekend against[LNB]Burnley and McLeish said: "There are still a few days before we make a[LNB]decision.[LNB]"I've tried to keep the players going right until the very end of the season.[LNB]"Some of the players wanted to know earlier about their future but my overall concern was the club and the team."

Source: Team_Talk