McLeish unfazed by Eduardo return
Eduardo's horrific injury in 2008 is not in Alex McLeish's mind ahead of Arsenal's visit to Birmingham.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 26/03/10 3:08pm
Alex McLeish insists Birmingham have "moved on" from their last home meeting with Arsenal in which Eduardo suffered an horrific leg injury.
In a 2-2 draw in February 2008, the Arsenal striker broke his left fibula and suffered an open dislocation of his left ankle following a challenge by Martin Taylor, who saw red for his tackle.
Taylor has since joined Watford and Liam Ridgewell is the only Birmingham player who played that day that is expected to make their starting line-up when the sides meet again at St Andrews on Saturday.
While Blues boss McLeish is happy for Croatia international Eduardo to have made a full recovery, the Scot wishes to draw a line under the matter and will not be affected by the event come Saturday.
"We have moved on," said McLeish. "I don't want even want to talk about it. Eduardo is back playing which is great.
"But we have moved on and I don't feel I need to comment on it. It is a couple of years ago.
"It is in the history books. Time moves on and I just brush all that stuff off my shoulder like a bit of dandruff.
"All I am interested in is this coming game with Arsenal."
Birmingham have been one of the surprise packages of the season, with 12 wins and eight draws steering them on course for a top 10 finish with seven Premier League games left to play.
In their first season since their return to the top flight, Birmingham were tipped as relegation candidates during pre-season but McLeish admits his side are better than the one he suffered relegation with in 2008.
The Blues have lost just twice at home in the league this season and former Rangers boss McLeish is adamant his players will not hold back from a physical display, despite the fixture's history.
"We are a better side than we were two seasons ago but it doesn't necessarily mean we will beat Arsenal," added the Scot.
"We will try and play our football against Arsenal but we have still got to make tackles - just as the Arsenal team have got to make tackles."
He added: "We can't stand back and admire them. They are a hell of a good side."
"Arsene (Wenger) has created a European style in his team, with an international flavour, and they are fantastic to watch.
"But if we stand around and watch them we will get a battering so you've got to be making tackles. You must be able to make tackles in the game of football.
"It is a contact sport and I will certainly say to my players 'don't stand back and admire them' but there won't be any rough stuff and I don't think we are capable of doing that anyway.
"You play against other teams and you have just got to cope with whatever style comes up against you. If you can't cope with it, then obviously you aren't good enough on the day.
"We want to make it tough for Arsenal. It is a great league, very competitive, and some of the other teams in the top five or six, will be looking for us to do something.
"We are capable of doing it. We got a draw against Arsenal two years ago with 10 men and arguably it wasn't as good a team as we've got now but that doesn't guarantee you anything.
"Arsenal could also maybe say they are better than two years ago."
Birmingham's form has dipped of late, however, with no wins in their last three outings, including back-to-back defeats to Sunderland and Blackburn respectively, but McLeish is confident it is just a minor blip in an otherwise solid campaign.
He said: "It is not as if teams have played their way through us and killed us with great passing movements and ripped us apart. We have just been a bit slack at times but I can't fault the performance level in terms of the way we have played."