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McLeish knows Birmingham need strength in depth for Europa League competition

Birmingham qualified for the Europa League by beating Arsenal in the Carling Cup final, but boss Alex McLeish has warned of the need for the Blues to have the necessary strength in depth to cope with the demands of participating in the competition next season. The former Rangers boss admits he has taken heed of advice from former Dutch international Jan Wouters who was part of his coaching staff when manager of the Gers.

He is currently assistant manager at FC Utrecht whose exertions in the competition have taken their toll as the current campaign has progressed.

McLeish said: "We are looking also to build this summer. We've got Europe coming up as well.

"I spoke to my friend in Holland, Jan Wouters, and he said his team, FC Utrecht, ran out of steam after a brilliant start to the season when they played great stuff.

"They beat Celtic over two games, did quite well against Liverpool and Jan says they ran out of steam because of the Europa League campaign.

"That tells you we are going to have the resources to cope with all competitions, especially with the intensity of the Premier League.

"But, listen, I'm not even thinking about the recruitment stuff just now until we are mathematically safe."

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Dave Williams

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