McLeish - Michel must adapt
Alex McLeish admits Michel must adapt his game if he is going to be a success in the Premier League.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 10/01/10 4:34pm
Alex McLeish feels new signing Michel must adapt his game if he is going to be a success in the Premier League.
The Birmingham manager has also called for fans to be patient with the midfielder who should complete his £3million switch from Sporting Gijon on Monday.
The 24-year-old watched from the stands as the Blues extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 12 matches with a 1-1 draw against champions Manchester United.
However, McLeish believes his new signing must grow accustomed to the rough and tumble of the English top flight if he is to have the desired impact.
"He takes the ball, he is unfazed with the ball at his feet, he can make passes and I want that kind of quality here," he said.
"But Michel will have watched that game with United and he will see the other qualities that you need in the Premier League - the physical side of it, getting close to people, making tackles.
"He will be as amazed as Mikel Arteta was when I signed him at Rangers. He was stunned when players made a tackle and kicked it into row Z and took the man, ball, everything that the fans went delirious.
"In Spain that doesn't happen. That is seen as neanderthal. Michel will learn that side of things and will bring a composure and bit of quality to the squad.
"He is a midfielder in the same mould of Barry Ferguson."
The Blues boss also called for supporters to give the Spaniard time to grow accustomed to the Premier League in the same way that Ecuadorian Christian Benitez was at the start of the season.
"He will realise (how tough it will be to get into the team). It is a learning process for him," he added.
"But I will reiterate Arsene Wenger's outlook on bringing foreign players to the club in that they take a little time to settle.
Time to settle
"If you look at our own striker Christian Benitez, he is looking really dangerous now and was a real handful for United in the second half.
"He has now settled in after taking time to adjust and he now gives the stick out to the players as well as taking it."
The signing of Michel is the first time McLeish has had the chance to spend new owner Carlos Yeung's millions but the former Rangers boss insists he will not be going overboard with his purchases.
"I want to take the club forward in a way where we are responsible," he pointed out. "We are not just going for the big signings because there is money there and it is too big a step.
"I've seen what has happened to clubs over the past few years, spending beyond their means and upsetting the wage structure.
"I am not going to name names but it is my moral obligation to take the club forward in small steps rather the giant big one."