McLeish calls for patience

ALEX MCLEISH has called for patience to allow his summer signings time to adjust to the Barclays Premier League and Birmingham’s style of play.

City have built their success on a rock-solid defence and allowed Wigan few chances in Saturday’s goalless draw at St Andrew’s, but McLeish admitted he is still trying to find the right blend in the attacking third of the pitch.

Alexander Hleb should be used to the top flight after his spell at Arsenal, although the on-loan Barcelona player is short of match fitness. However striker Nikola Zigic and winger Jean Beausejour are still adjusting to the pace and demands of the game.

“I am still trying to find the right blend,” McLeish said. “We’ve got to be patient.

“Alex (Hleb) is still searching for sharpness and fitness as is the case with Beausejour. Alex has not played a lot of games, not a lot of football. That game (against Wigan) will help him and we’ve got to get the ball to him better than we did at times.

“Nikola Zigic is still trying to adjust to the English game. It’s hurly burly, 100 miles an hour, and people expect him to win every ball in the air but he doesn’t really play that way on the continent or international level. They all need time to adjust, just like some of the lads last season after coming in.”

McLeish is aware of the need for City to win their home games even though they are now unbeaten at St Andrew’s for a year, equalling a club top-flight record of 18 games.

He said: “To go a year unbeaten at home is a phenomenal achievement and I am proud of the record. But we need to win our home games.

“We’re in a better position than we were this time last season. That doesn’t mean to say we will have as good a season but the start hasn’t been too bad at all.”

McLeish will not be contesting the straight red card handed out to midfielder Craig Gardner for a lunge at Wigan’s Franco Di Santo, whose boss Roberto Martinez is hoping his initial fears the player may have suffered ankle ligament damage are wide of the mark.

Martinez hailed the attitude shown by winger Charles N’Zogbia, who received verbal abuse throughout the 90 minutes from Birmingham fans after rejecting a summer move.

Martinez said: “Since the transfer window has closed, Charles has just got focused, close to the players, spoke to the players, and he was here to help the team win games.His behaviour has been fantastic.’’


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