skip to content

Birmingham 1 West Brom 3: Fizz goes flat for beaten McLeish as relegation battle hots up

07 Mar 2011 08:17:26

Birmingham 1 West Brom 3: Fizz goes flat for beaten McLeish as relegation battle hots up

Alex McLeish and his captain Stephen Carr would have liked nothing more than to celebrate Birmingham's fairytale Wembley triumph. But as they went through the motions during a civic ceremony at St Andrew's in front of thousands of fans on Sunday, the Carling Cup that they lifted last week was hardly overflowing with cheer. A 3-1 home defeat by West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and the prospect of a Barclays Premier League relegation fight made sure of that. Muted celebrations: Alex McLeish (left) and Stephen Carr show off the Carling Cup at St Andrew's Birmingham face Bolton in an FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday, but McLeish indicated he is ready to sacrifice a second Wembley appearance to concentrate on getting out of the bottom three. More pressing is Wednesday night's league match at Everton and, having said last month that it would be near-impossible to battle on three fronts with his squad, the injuries are piling up. Just five of the outfield players he used against West Bromwich started in the same position one week earlier against Arsenal. And two of those - defenders Roger Johnson and Liam Ridgewell - went into the final without having trained for a week.  Back down to earth: Albion's Paul Scharner heads home to help bury Birmingham 'It's been a fantastic week for us up until today,' said McLeish after the match. 'But this raises the perennial question: do the cups tax smaller clubs and smaller squads too much? 'On today's evidence, they do. It was a factor in our performance and the amount of changes we had to make as a result of playing in a cup final and reaching it in the first place. 'If I've got everyone back then we would be raring to go in the next game, but we have got some injury problems. We can't afford to feel sorry for ourselves. We have just got to make sure that the team I put out on the pitch play better than today.' Birmingham have seven of their remaining 11 fixtures away from St Andrew's and an uncharacteristically poor defensive display only served to highlight the team's reliance on their rearguard. West Bromwich's win was a triumph for boss Roy Hodgson (right), who had little sympathy for McLeish's fixtures backlog. 'I don't subscribe to the theory it was a good time to play Birmingham,' he said. 'I'm of that old-fashioned belief that if you play Sunday, you should be ready to play next Saturday.' Paul Scharner, who scored Albion's third, defended his January outburst at his 'lazy' colleagues. The Austrian said: 'We were fighting relegation and that's why I had to do something. 'I said those things to wake the players up. To show responsibility and be professional. It's my job.'  Referee Clattenburg giving serious thought to quitting after week of controversyNick Harris: Birmingham's finances put European place in jeopardyBIRMINGHAM CITY FC


Daily_Mail

Sponsored links