McLeish compares Zigic to Crouch

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish believes Nikola Zigic can follow in the footsteps of Peter Crouch and become a major star in England.

Zigic stole all the headlines playing against West Ham once again when his second-half header won the points for Birmingham and helped them move out of the bottom three.

The Serbian international has had a slow start to life in the Premier League following his six-million-pound move from Valencia last summer, but he netted his sixth goal of the season at Upton Park and looks to be hitting his best form at the right time of the season.

McLeish has no doubts he can get even stronger and has been showing him videos of Crouch to show him how he makes a success of his height in the Premier League.

McLeish said: “He’s a bit more like Crouchy. When he started he was a little awkward and ungainly but worked hard at his game and became impossible at times for defenders to play him.”

“He’s still doing it. We’re looking for the big fella to use Crouchy as an example. He’s watched vidoes of Crouch.”

“He’s upped his game. He’s at a good level now. He’s an international player and it’s been a challenge getting used to England.”

“He’s beginning to hold his own. He was pushed in the back for the goal but he managed to stay firm and get his head on it.”
“It was a matter of showing him videos and some of his own footage. It’s a very different style of football to Spain and Serbia. I’d like to see a big return in this half of the season – 20 goals,” he joked.

West Ham manager Avram Grant admitted his birthday celebrations were cancelled and revealed his concern over the team’s poor defending which cost them dearly.

Grant said: “How could I celebrate (my birthday), we didn’t score and we didn’t win. It is not a happy birthday but it is not me that is important, it is the team.”

“We didn’t deal well with the set-pieces. We need to deal better with this.”

“We gave them easy free kicks and we know this is their strength because from open play they didn’t create chances against us.”

“The disappointing thing is that we lost to a team near us and it is a game of six points.”

“We take a few steps forward and one back and we need to learn from this. We deserve to stay up but we need to do it. We cannot lose games like this.”

“We have 12 games until the end of the season and there are not so many points between the teams. We can do it but we want to do it as quickly as we can.”

“The thing that disappointed me most was the tempo of the game. We are used to playing with a high tempo and confidence and today we didn’t play in the way we know.”