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McLeish demands character from Birmingham players

Alex McLeish has urged Birmingham to show mental toughness in all games and not just against the Premier League big boys.

Blues have been on a rollercoaster ride since McLeish took charge in early December, winning against Tottenham, drawing at Arsenal last Saturday and only being beaten by one goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

McLeish said: "We showed really excellent character against the likes of Tottenham and Manchester United and then again in getting a point at Arsenal.

"It came as a surprise when we performed the way we did against Huddersfield. I know it was a game we were expected to win but that is a pressure the boys have got to live with.

"That is all part of the mental process for me. It is mental toughness. There were things we did in the Spurs, Manchester United and Arsenal games that we didn't do in the Huddersfield game.

"They showed a fear and apprehension in what was a game they were expected to win. The same apprehension wasn't there in the previous game at Old Trafford because they are going there with nothing to lose - and it was the same at Arsenal.

"It was a similar situation with Scotland who were expected to beat Belarus, Lithuania and Georgia at Hampden Park and struggled, but were able to go away and beat France.

"Our players here have got to deal with the different pressures of different situations and it is another part of the mental side of the game.

"We have to show organisation, resilience and character in every game and not just against the bigger teams."

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Tribal Football Staff

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