McLeish: Cup win has cost us

BY foxsports • May 15, 2011

Birmingham are outside of the Premier League bottom three on goal difference alone after Brede Hangeland earned Fulham three points at St Andrew's on Sunday. Blues have won only two of 11 games since their shock cup final win over Arsenal at Wembley. But they have also been hit by injuries to key men and, against Fulham, four players - Lee Bowyer, Martin Jiranek, Stuart Parnaby and substitute Alexander Hleb - limped out of the action. It meant Blues finished with 10 men and now they have to equal or better the results of Blackpool and Wigan when they visit Tottenham next Sunday to stay in the top flight. McLeish said: "Maybe mentally since the Carling Cup final, it took its toll for a while. Then we picked ourselves up for while with a couple of great victories against Sunderland and Bolton back to back. "We got a draw with Wolves with 10 men which was one of those magnificent spirited performances. "But here we seemed short in terms of legs and presence as well. "I think the suspensions and injuries has caught up with us a wee bit. "But once we lick our wounds over the next couple of days, we will be bang at it. We've got to believe and I've been in situations before where it's looked impossible and it's worked and happened for us." Blues were again guilty of conceding sloppy goals but also looked devoid of inspiration. McLeish said: "We were second best. Fulham were the better team and I'm disappointed we lost goals at set-pieces the way we did. "They were two soft goals again really. "You can say the first goal we conceded smacked of nerves but I didn't think they were nervous in the dressing room beforehand." McLeish added: "It is a tough task for us to go to Spurs and win but we've done it before. "The evidence is there it can be done and it is about picking ourselves up and getting off the floor because that dressing room is hurting in there. "They know that was not one of their best performances and they also know we now face a battle to retain Premier League status." Fulham boss Mark Hughes was delighted with the response of his side after the 5-2 home loss to Liverpool on Monday. He said: "I was pleased to get the reaction I got. I didn't doubt the players in fairness. "We found ourselves on Monday where we were 3-0 down and had to chase the game against a good side and they picked us off. "This was about showing we hadn't switched off for the end of the season. "We've got targets we set ourselves and we intend to reach them. "We were fully focused and I think you can see that from the way we approached the game and we were able to get another away win which have been hard to come by. "It's our third, back to back away wins, so we've made a marked improvement in terms of what we can produce on the road." Hughes felt the opportunity was there for Fulham to take advantage of Birmingham's precarious position. He said: "As a club, you don't want to be in the situation Birmingham find themselves in today. "We knew that could be to our advantage and if we started positively and put them under pressure - then there is apprehension in the opposition and crowd. "That was to our advantage and you could see that at times. We were able to capitalise on a bit of nervousness."

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