Belfast Telegraph

Battling Blues cheer McLeish

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish praised his team's resilience in securing a point at Everton which moved them out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

Blues took a 17th-minute lead through Jean Beausejour's header but John Heitinga rifled in an equaliser 10 minutes before the interval and the Toffees looked by far the more likely side to find a winner in the second half. McLeish's men held on for the 1-1 draw, though, taking them up to 17th in the table, with West Ham dropping into the bottom three.

"I think that is an apt way to describe it - a battling point," McLeish said. "We started very brightly and got the opening goal. Then the players showed that tremendous resilience that they have."

He added: "We tried to be a little bit more predatory, but we never really had the composure in terms of the passing in the second half. But sometimes you need to get points in an ugly fashion."

Everton's Mikel Arteta was withdrawn around the same time as Bentley having sustained a hamstring injury of his own while in a chase with Sebastian Larsson.

Asked how Arteta was, Toffees manager David Moyes said: "I don't know, I just saw him come off. Obviously it looks like a hamstring injury but I haven't had a chat with the medical team yet to see what they think."

Arteta has been in impressive form of late and was named captain for the night in the absence of another hamstring victim Phil Neville.

Moyes - who has Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill on the sidelines as well - admitted the loss of the Spanish midfielder was a major setback.

"It was a big blow for us because we needed some creativity and I knew that if we didn't have him, we would be struggling to create too much," Moyes said.

"Leon Osman did, but we were struggling otherwise really to make anything happen."


From Belfast Telegraph