McLeish up for battle of Blues

Carlo Ancelotti’s Premier League leaders have lost two of their

last three matches, the most recent defeat a 3-0 drubbing at home

against Sunderland. They will also be without key players John

Terry, Alex and Frank Lampard for this weekend’s clash. McLeish

acknowledges Chelsea have strong players to come in for their

injured stars, but claims his team feel they can pull off a

surprise. The former Scotland manager said: “The big teams don’t

lose too many in succession, but we’re in our own back yard, and we

have to believe that this is achievable and we can win it. “I’m not

saying that we will do it, but we can do it. “We’ve got to ensure

that Chelsea are going back to London on the coach saying, ‘St

Andrew’s is a tough place to go to’. “We did that with a lot of the

big teams last season, but we were unlucky against Chelsea when

Chucho (Benitez) scored a perfectly legitimate goal which was ruled

out. “Chelsea have got some injury problems, but they still have

phenomenal players in the squad who can easily turn it on when they

want.” McLeish hopes his players are able to capitalise on any

doubt that might manifest itself in Chelsea’s play. “They’re only

human, and players can be apprehensive from time to time,” McLeish

said. “When the confidence is high, there’s no stopping

footballers, but when the chips are down a wee bit you can feel

that apprehension. “If there’s a opportunity for us then we have to

try and grasp it. “We’ve got to gather points for very different

reasons, but it’s a great challenge for us.” Despite Sunderland

winning at Stamford Bridge using an attacking 4-4-2 formation,

McLeish has urged caution to those people now espousing the opinion

that Chelsea are vulnerable if teams go at them from the first

minute. He said: “Sunderland last week exploited the players who

were missing, but Chelsea could have been ahead in the first half

hour, so I guess you need a little bit of luck as well. “That

wouldn’t go amiss for us as well. I don’t think we’ve had the rub

of the green. “We should be a few points better off, but that’s

spilt milk now and we have to get on with it.”