City boss hails 'outstanding' Given
Given made a string of outstanding saves and then capped his display by stopping a second-half penalty from Birmingham midfielder James McFadden. It again showed why Hughes was willing to splash out £8million last January in bringing Given to Eastlands from Newcastle. Hughes said: "I gave Shay a glowing tribute before the game, not that he needed it, but he is an outstanding keeper. "He has been top drawer for the majority of his career and I am very pleased that he is with Manchester City. "He kept us in this game with Birmingham after we had struggled to impose ourselves for long periods. "Birmingham chased us down and maybe we got sucked into the way Birmingham wanted to play and it was definitely one point gained rather than two points lost." Hughes' expensively-assembled side have now drawn four successive league games but he is still happy with the overall progress being made by his team. He said: "People talk about the four draws but three of them have been away from home so we have still been picking up points. "We made a flying start to the season and because of that people expected us to win every game. "That is not going to happen this year and, if you look around, everyone in this league is dropping points. "We needed to knuckle down today to get something from the game and that is what we managed even though we didn't play as well as we are capable of. "We might have had a penalty near the end but, if we had won the game, I think it would have been unfair on Birmingham." Blues manager Alex McLeish was also full of praise for Given but was delighted with his side's showing as they followed up last weekend's victory over Sunderland. He said: "We came into the dressing room disappointed not to win and it was a very powerful performance. "They (the players) gave everything. The only thing that let us down was the final touch but other than that how can I fault the performance of the players? "I have now seen three games in a row where we have produced quality and consistency and only a man-of-the-match performance from Shay Given stopped us from winning. "That is why Manchester City paid good money for him. They say great keepers can save you 10 points during a season. "That has been proven over the years and we have just seen a terrific keeper capable of that sort of thing." Birmingham midfielder Barry Ferguson was sent off in injury time for two bookable offences and will now miss the game at Liverpool on Monday week. The former Scotland international picked up his second booking when blocking an attempted throw by Pablo Zabaleta. McLeish said: "Barry came in and said he was daft. He knows we will miss him at Anfield and it will cost the team with us having such a fragile squad. "We can't afford to lose players through a silly act of indiscipline."
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