Football

McLeish hails battling Blues

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Birmingham boss Alex McLeish hailed his side's character after they survived an Everton onslaught to reach the FA Cup fifth round.

The Midlanders secured a 2-1 win at Goodison Park after a brilliant first-half display and a breathtaking goal from former Scotland captain Barry Ferguson. Ferguson struck close to half-time after Christian Benitez's early opener, but Everton fought back with a second-half strike from substitute Leon Osman.

McLeish said: "It was a marvellous first half, we scored two classy goals and Barry Ferguson's will be a rival for goal of the season."

He added: "The intricate passing, the driving run, the expert finish, it was a wonderful goal.

"Benitez's goal was good, but Ferguson's was stunning. We stood up to them, particularly in the second half when we were facing an onslaught.

"But the first-half performance was instrumental in us winning the game."

He added: "Everton came back at us, we knew they would, but we held on and we must give credit to the team for their resilience and their spirit.

"The lads threw themselves in the way of everything, blocking and heading everything away. The second half was a test of our character and we came through it.

"The run we are on, for a newly-promoted side, is sensational in modern times.

"For a smaller club in the Premier League it is exceptional. But we are enjoying it and we have the character to keep it going."

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Topics:
Leon Osman
Sunderland
Football
Premier League
Alex
Christian Benitez
Everton
Birmingham
FA Cup
Barry Ferguson

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