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McLeish on... West Ham Utd

Filed: Wednesday, 12th January 2011
By: Staff Writer

Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish insists his side were denied a blatant penalty...

Alex: a missed opportunity when West Ham went down to ten men?

Yeah. Yeah it was, definitely. Definitely a missed opportunity. The difference is the clinical side of things and finishing. But I was very pleased with the second half performance. The goal was a little bit of a monstrosity when you think about it but we totally dominated the second half. First third, they were in our faces and we had to do some work at half time.

What did you say at half time?

Well it was a little bit of stage fright. To be fair to West Ham they got right in our faces. They were aggressive and they got the crowd behind them. We never really had composure, we never passed it well, we gave the ball away and never held it up. So it was a lot of factors but we addressed those, adjusted the shape, had Ferguson, Fahey and Gardner more on the front foot. I think that helped us - and Alex Hleb became influential in the game for us.

What's the news on Scott Dann?

I don't know, over the next 48 hours we'll be able to give you a bit of clarity. But it looks like he's torn a hamstring, which is a blow.

What did [Ben] Foster say when he came into the dressing room?

Well he's a big man, he takes it on the chin and doesn't hide. He apologised to the players. He's saved us many times and he'll save us many times in the future. Goalies are always vulnerable when they make a mistake as it normally results in a goal.

Penalty in the second half, Upson on Ferguson?

Looks a stone-waller, I've seen it about five times. The referee's not spotted it. That can happen, but it's a sore one. Ferguson's goal side of Upson, when you challenge somebody when they're running in front of you in the box there's a good chance you're going to impede them. It wasn't just an impediment though, it was a barge in the back. If that's a shoulder charge then I don't know what I'm talking about.

Is 2-1 recoverable? Have you got enough to overturn it?

I would say so. If you were talking about a 2-1 deficit before the game you might not be too unhappy with that. But I'm unhappy about it now because of the way the second half went. But it's recoverable and we have to do what West Ham did to us, get into their faces in the first few minutes of the game then show our intentions in front of a partisan St Andrews crowd.

Most of the questions here to Avram Grant were about his future situation. Do you sympathise with a manager who is constantly unsettled?

Yeah, it's not easy that when you're reading about yourself in the papers and you have no control of it. I don't want to interfere in somebody else's business but we know how football works and we're all vulnerable to it when we get bad results. But Avram's had a good one tonight so I've got to make one this weekend!

Did you see the red card incident?

No, I never saw it; a couple of guys on the bench said he kicked Larsson off the ball. The official's seen it and they've acted accordingly. I never saw it.

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