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Thursday 16 August 2018

McLeish's Wembley joy tempered by threat of sack

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish admits his position is "not invulnerable" despite seeing his side reach their first major Wembley final for 55 years.

Blues staged a remarkable recovery from 3-1 down on aggregate to defeat West Ham 4-3 over the two semi-final legs and seal a Carling Cup final date with Arsenal on February 27.

It was the latest chapter of success at Blues for McLeish after leading them to promotion two years ago and a best ever ninth spot in the Premier League last season.

But McLeish was the subject of comments from acting chairman Peter Pannu at the weekend regarding the value of some of his signings and has been frustrated at a lack of new blood in January.

The former Rangers and Scotland boss knows his position ultimately depends on results.

When asked about whether his job was now more secure, McLeish said: "I'll just keep working to the best of my ability and whatever happens, happens.

"I'm not invulnerable if results don't go our way. We are in the results business and that is football and I accept I've got to get results. I've got a good one (last night) and maybe I will be here for a few more days yet."

McLeish could not conceal his pride at the way his players responded to conceding Carlton Cole's first-half goal, having lost the first leg 2-1 at Upton Park.



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His decision to bring on Serbian striker Nikola Zigic had a major impact on the game as goals from Lee Bowyer, Roger Johnson and, in extra time, Craig Gardner, turned the tie around.

McLeish said: "It was a really exciting moment for me when I heard the final whistle and realised what everyone has achieved.

"The fans were magnificent for us in the second half. We needed that support and to walk a team out at Wembley will be one of the proudest moments of my career."

Hammers boss Avram Grant felt his side paid the penalty for not defending well at set pieces.

He said: "I felt we played really well in the first half. We dominated the game. We scored one goal, we could have scored more.

"Birmingham scored from two corners. It is disappointing.

"I am not happy we are not in the final. I think we did well in the Carling Cup.

"We won a lot of games and even this game in the first half we played well but unfortunately we are not at Wembley, I am not happy about this."

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