Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

McLeish eyes back-to-back wins

Alex McLeish

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has challenged his players to achieve back to back wins for the first time in 14 months to ease their relegation fears.

McLeish wants to follow up victory over West Ham in Sunday's relegation clash with another three points against visiting Stoke on Saturday. It is the first of two matches at St Andrew's in four days with Newcastle the visitors next Tuesday in a re-arranged encounter.

McLeish said: "It would be good if we could string some back-to-back wins together now."

He added: "The players certainly haven't lacked commitment. You saw that against Manchester City last week, when we twice came from behind to get a point, and then against West Ham.

"It's just that back-to-back wins would ease that pressure and lift everyone in terms of increasing confidence levels."

McLeish is full of praise for winger Sebastian Larsson and his sustained levels of commitment despite his contract ending next summer.

The Swedish international came off the bench to set up Nikola Zigic's winner at Upton Park.

McLeish said: "Seb's contract is up in the summer but he has not downed tools, I have seen players in the past who are about to become a Bosman switch off.

"But Seb has been so committed and not let anything affect his football."

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