It’s been a great season for Birmingham City, having lifted the Carling Cup at Wembley earlier in the campaign, but Alex McLeish’s men are still threatened with relegation from the Premier League and need a result against Tottenham at the weekend. Here are McLeish’s thoughts on this and next season…
Does your Carling Cup success count for your greatest achievement in your managerial career?
I think when you get to your next trophy, it looks the best and feels the best. All those emotions that I have ever felt when lifting the trophy have all been the same and you just want to experience that all the time. Beating Arsenal in the carling cup is up there. People gave us virtually no chance against a top side that are in the Champions League every single year for the last 12 years. They have quite a frightening record. For us to do that was a huge achievement. Was it the best feeling for me? I don’t know. They all feel the same when you get a trophy in your hand the feeling is the same as all the rest of them.
So have you got the playing resources to compete on all fronts in the Europa League and cope with the extra games?
We don’t have them at the moment. Whether it means we have to spend millions of pounds to compete on all fronts is another matter. It could be the strength and depth in the squad but it doesn’t mean you have to spend the earth and have a strong squad. We have to be prudent and make a few shrewd signings. We will look at the Bosman market and look at loans. Everything we can do that won’t stretch our resources. We are not Manchester United, but we will try to plan. The main thing is if you plan ahead it can save you a lot of wasted time and heartache.
Which areas of the squad are you looking to improve for the summer?
I think for the centre back position we are ok. The goalkeeping side of things is fine. There are one or two areas, like possibly the midfield where we could improve. As some players get older, you look to recruit younger players and players with potential. Most managers will give you the same answer as me and that is we are looking for the strikers, people who can score goals.
A lot of fans will be keen to know whether you have a budget to further strengthen the squad?
We haven’t even discussed budgets at the moment to be quite honest. We have really been concentrating on the Premier League. We have not taken our focus off that. Of course there are a lot of names that our chief scout and staff and the contacts we have in the game have given us which we will certainly be thinking about. Right now we are focusing on getting up this league and then we can really look to see what we are going to do and see how much we are going to spend.