Birmingham boss McLeish admits change of thinking needed with Hleb arrival

Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish is looking to Alex Hleb to step up his game at St Andrews.

Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish is looking to Alex Hleb to step up his game at St Andrews.

McLeish insists he has settled well having been used to training with the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi at the Nou Camp.

But while the Blues boss admits his side can hold their own when it comes to the passing game, he acknowledges they are no match for the European giants.

Asked whether he has to manage expectations when bringing in players of Hleb's calibre, the Scot replied: "I suppose we do.

"Alex will be used to ball-playing centre-halves and maybe the possession game, but we play the possession game fairly well.

"We stopped doing it at the weekend after we lost two gifts of goals against West Brom.

"But we realise on the training ground that we've got a lot of good players who can pass the ball.

"There are some things that he'll have to realise, and he will realise, and he does realise, that we're not Barcelona."

McLeish also believes it is only normal for a player of Hleb's quality to have to accept responsibility to step up to the plate having made such a switch.

"Any top player who plays in any game, that is the extra challenge to them," he added.

"They're seen as top players so if they don't perform they're the first ones the press pick on.

"He's fitted in well, there's no airs and graces about him, he's actually quite a character and the players have taken to him."

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