McLeish wants more from Hleb

The Blues boss is hoping the former Arsenal playmaker can make a

telling contribution during the final six games of the season –

starting at Chelsea. Hleb has ruled out a return to St Andrew’s

next season, claiming he is not suited to City’s style of play. But

McLeish countered those comments by pointing to his side’s Carling

Cup final success over the Gunners. When asked about Hleb’s

comments, McLeish said: “I’m not bothered what people are going to

do at the end of the season. “My focus is only on what is coming

up, the next six games. That’s my total focus. I can’t be

sidetracked by people talking about their future. “The bigger

picture is the Blues and that’s my total focus. “Alex is a terrific

player. We haven’t seen the best of him, but I’d like to think he

has learned a bit about other aspects of the game while he has been

in. “If Alex can make a contribution in the next six games, we will

take it. “If he wants to go in the summer, we will shake his hand

and wish him well.” Hleb believes he is more suited to the passing

game of Arsenal and hankers for a return to his former employers.

But McLeish said: “The only other thing I’d say about Alex’s

comments is we have shown we can still beat a team like Arsenal in

a major cup final when perhaps we are not the best footballing team

in the world. “Not many sides are like Arsenal and Barcelona but it

shows a team with other qualities can do that (beat them). “We can

still pass the ball and we have done it well but we have adhered to

some tactics that have served us well and we play to our strengths.

“We can play football. Look at guys like Barry Ferguson. They take

care of the ball.” Wednesday night’s match will see a battle of

goal-shy strikers with Fernando Torres looking for his first for

Chelsea and City’s Cameron Jerome having drawn a blank for the last

19 league games. But McLeish knows Torres will soon find the net

and he is full of praise for Jerome’s general contribution. He

said: “It is only a matter of time before Torres starts scoring

again. He is too good a player. “Listen, some day he is going to

score. Let’s face it. If you start to worry about things like that,

it just distracts you. “As for Cameron, he has been in terrific

form. His hold-up play is much improved. His touch over the last

three games has been excellent. “He has worked his socks off for

the team. He has been really troublesome for the opposition.”