McLeish bears no grudge
Alex McLeish has not criticised departing Alexander Hleb following confirmation of his decision to leave.
Last Updated: 20/04/11 8:08am
Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has not criticised departing Alexander Hleb following confirmation of his decision to leave in the summer.
The Belarus international is currently with the St Andrews club on a season-long loan from Spanish giants Barcelona, although injuries have restricted his appearances and form.
In revealing his choice not to stay on Hleb has taken a swipe at the team's 'fight and run' style of play, but McLeish insists they will always set up to suit their own strengths.
Hleb played a key role in Birmingham's 2-0 weekend win over Sunderland by setting up Craig Gardner's goal and McLeish is now hoping the ex-Arsenal man can finish the season in style.
"We didn't expect Alex to extend his loan," McLeish told Sky Sports. "In the meantime I've put every talk of players staying and going out of our minds.
"We've got bigger fish to fry. The bigger picture is for Birmingham City to stay in the Premier League and to try and climb the table, if we can.
"We're still developing as a squad and a team. You have to rebuild the team every season. It can be difficult to have the infrastructure. We have to play to our strengths.
"The bottom line is we're playing to our strengths. We showed ambition by bringing someone like Alex in, someone a little bit different. A game-breaker if you like.
"It's just a shame that the fans haven't seen the best of him because of his injuries and little niggles. He never came fully fit.
"If he can make a contribution such as he did over the weekend in the next six games then the summer will take care of itself."