McLeish blames Cup hangover

Alex McLeish said Birmingham can credit their Carling Cup heroics for their poor performance at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

The Scottish boss had no doubt his side’s last-gasp 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Wembley last Sunday saw them underperform against fellow relegation-threatened club West Brom, as Roy Hodgson’s men coasted to a 3-1 victory at St Andrew’s Ground.

“I believe that entirely. (We made) a lot of changes made to the team, a lot of tiredness if I’m making excuses for my players,” McLeish told Sky Sports.

“To lose five or six (players), enforced, was a big hurdle. But I thought some of our play was second rate. I would have liked to see better performances.”

McLeish lamented Birmingham’s amateurish defence, but said shipping three goals was partly down to an extensive injury list disrupting his side’s starting 11.

“(It was) schoolboy defending in the second half. The goals were lamentable. I’m angry with the defending but there were a lot of changes. It really disrupted us,” he said.

Albion boss Roy Hodgson said there were no individual standouts in his side as they moved out of the relegation zone with the victory.

“For me, as boring as it may sound and as much as a cliche as it may appear to be, I thought it was a very good performance all round,” the former Fulham and Liverpool manager told Sky Sports.

“It’s always the players who score the goals or who do the spectacular things that catch the eye but I thought there were some very good defensive performances from the back players and some sterling work from the two central midfield players.”