Birmingham boss McLeish finds Hleb positives in derby defeat

Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish was pleased with Alex Hleb's debut in their defeat at West Bromwich Albion.

Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish was pleased with Alex Hleb's debut in their defeat at West Bromwich Albion.

McLeish had words of praise for Hleb - who played for nearly 80 minutes at the Hawthorns.

And he also admitted he was "gutted" for James McFadden, who missed the trip to West Brom after picking up an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his left knee in training on Friday.

McLeish told bcfc.com: "Hleb has great pedigree - the fact he's played for the likes of Arsenal and Barcelona proves that. He did well for us on his debut and added quality. He's a very good player.

"The irony in talking about Hleb doing well on his debut is that we were planning to play an unchanged side from the Liverpool game because James had looked back to his very best in that match.

"We are gutted for James because he was not only in fine form but was one of the fittest players at the club. His body mass index levels were great and after playing so well for the club last season he looked to be running into another period of fine form.

"I said to the lads before the game 'let's go and win this one for Faddy' and for a while it looked as though we were going to do exactly that. Maybe I should have told them again at half-time!"

 
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