McLeish impressed by Benitez
Alex McLeish is confident that Christian Benitez will prove to be a regular goalscorer once he opens his account.
Last Updated: 07/11/09 3:09pm
Alex McLeish is confident that Christian Benitez will prove to be a regular goalscorer once he opens his Birmingham City account.
The Ecuador international has proved a lively addition to the St Andrew's ranks but has drawn a blank to date in front of goal.
McLeish admits Benitez needs a goal to take the pressure off himself ahead of Monday's Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
Benitez has been impressive in recent weeks after taking time to become fully up to speed fitness-wise following his summer switch from Santos Laguna.
He is forming a promising partnership full of pace with Cameron Jerome who is also looking to find the target for the first time during the current campaign.
The woodwork denied Benitez an opening goal for Birmingham in the impressive home draw with Manchester City on Sunday when Shay Given saved a penalty from James McFadden.
McLeish said: "I can't say it is just a matter of time before the goals come. It would be foolish to say that but I do believe there are goals within these players.
"At the start of the season the pundits said they didn't see where the goals were going to come from at Birmingham but I do know that we have made a lot of chances.
"If we weren't making chances, I would be extremely worried so that gives me a crumb of comfort.
"We have just got to keep working, and be calmer. But Cameron knows he will be judged on goals, Christian knows he will be judged on goals but these lads are doing well and have made us better and we are playing to a very good standard.
"They have to keep working on the training ground every day, believing they will eventually get the goals."
McLeish added: "Is Benitez becoming frustrated? I am hoping it is going to be like waiting for a bus. Once one comes, we get a barrel-load of goals and that tends to happen when you are waiting for a bus.
"I think Benitez has brought something extra to the team. There is no doubt that he upsets defences and I am delighted with his performances.
"To take the pressure off himself, he needs a goal. He will be craving that goal but he doesn't need to worry about his performances. I am very pleased with him."
Birmingham midfielder Barry Ferguson is suspended for the clash with the Reds. The former Scotland international was sent off for two bookable offences against City and could be replaced by Lee Carsley.
McLeish has warned his Birmingham players to keep their discipline and avoid needless suspensions.
"Ferguson is out through suspension which will be a loss to us because of his ability to make us play and we will have to try and patch things up," he said.
"I think by and large the discipline of the side has been good. It was a rash moment and Barry admits that.
"You have to keep talking to the players every week in the team talks and I've reminded them every single game about discipline and the need to keep all the players on the pitch, to try and avoid the bookings.
"It is a man's game and sometimes tackles earn you bookings. It's the silly ones we've got to try and cut out, pulling the jersey over the head when we score a goal.
"We have to watch the discipline because we are a small, fragile squad and it will affect small squads."