Ridgewell hails Zigic efforts

BY foxsports • February 13, 2011

Zigic struggled to make an impact after his £6 million summer move from Valencia and was held up to ridicule and regarded as a laughing stock on some Blues' fans message boards. But City boss Alex McLeish never lost faith in the Serbian international, urged him to install more aggression into his game - and now he is reaping the rewards. Zigic followed up his winner against West Ham last weekend with an injury-time decider against Stoke at St. Andrew's on Saturday as he netted for the third successive match. It enabled Birmingham to seal back-to-back league wins for the first time in 14 months. City defender Ridgewell said: "It is difficult when people are talking about you and there are bits and bobs being said. "But Ziggy has kept focused on what he needs to do and is getting his rewards at the moment. "It might have affected some people. It has affected bigger players before, that sort of thing. "It shows how broad his shoulders are and how mature and good a player he is. "He is starting to cause more problems now. He is starting to get more aggressive and more used to the league." Ridgewell added: "It is not easy for anyone to come into the league and try and put their stamp on it. "He's had to learn the league, and learn about us, and we've had to learn about him as well. "It is fantastic for him at the moment and we hope it continues. "Once Ziggy gets a pre-season under him with us, hopefully that will help him as well." Zigic's strike partner Obafemi Martins, who is on loan from Rubin Kazan, did well on his debut and is confident he will score the goals to ensure Birmingham stay up. He said: "When you play Stoke, it is going to be more difficult but I'm back now and have the focus now and try to score goals. "What was Russia like? I am not going to say anything about that but I'm glad to be back in England and I will score a lot of goals. "Would I like to come here permanently? We will see what is going to happen. I have a couple of months here. "My hope is to stay and score goals and keep Birmingham up." Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic apologised to his Stoke team-mates after spilling a shot from David Bentley before Cameron Jerome pounced on the loose ball and centred for Zigic to head home. Stoke boss Tony Pulis said: "We have played Birmingham on their ground and I am not sure Asmir has had a real shot to save in the 90 minutes. "We are devastated to have got nothing out of that game. "Asmir really should have collected that ball. It has come out of his hands. He came into the dressing room and held his hand up. "Bentley shoots from the edge of the box straight at Asmir and unfortunately the kid has not held it and from that point onwards we are in trouble." Pulis added: "I didn't think we deserved to lose the game. It's always a tough game coming to Birmingham. "But you have to play the time out. There were three minutes added on and I think they scored in the 93rd minute."