Date: 17th August 2009 at 11:03am
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Manager Alex McLeish believes Birmingham City’s performance in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester United has left plenty of reason for optimism ahead of the rest of the season.

The Blues lost to a Wayne Rooney goal at Old Trafford but afterwards McLeish was in upbeat mood.

‘In the teamtalk before the game I said to the guys ‘you’ve got to show that bottle to pass it and to take the ball too’ and I thought they did those things very well,’ he told the club’s official website.

‘The performance showed that the team spirit is alive and kicking.

‘We know the home games take on a different complexion and we need to take the initiative.

‘Last time out in the Premier League we know our home form was what ultimately cost us our top-flight status and we have to follow the examples of what Stoke did throughout last season and Hull in the first half of the last season.’

Club record signing Christian Benitez came close to scoring on his debut after arriving as a second-half substitute and McLeish was pleased with the contribution of the striker.

He added: ‘At half-time we told the boys to keep it tight in the second half and within the structure I felt we’d get a chance or two, so we put the two strikers up front and went with the four in midfield and even though that left us open at the back on occasions.

‘We so nearly got something with a shot from James McFadden and then with Chucho’s (Benitez’s) chance at the end.

‘He revels in the atmosphere and it certainly didn’t faze him. He relished it.’



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