McLeish to strengthen for Europe

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Alex McLeish admits Birmingham will have to strengthen their squad to cope with the demands of Europe after their shock Carling Cup success.

The Blues are celebrating only the second major trophy in their history after overcoming Arsenal 2-1 at Wembley, the result meaning they will participate in the Europa League if they come through next summer's qualifying rounds.

But McLeish is aware of the need for additional players to be brought in to combine any continental aspirations and he said: "We have to try and develop the squad further. We will need to strengthen."

He added: "Initially I had forgotten we were in Europe because in Scotland, you don't get into Europe after winning the League Cup.

"We are so proud to win the cup and get into Europe but it's not without its problems in terms of needing a strong squad to do that.

McLeish's faith in Serbia striker Nikola Zigic - ridiculed by some City fans earlier in the season - was again justified.

The former Valencia player scored the first goal and was involved in the winner, scored by substitute Obafemi Martins.

McLeish said: "Arsenal were very apprehensive of the big fellow (Zigic).

"I think we've helped him improve his game though he might not agree when he's got to try and head every ball that's kicked up to him.

"It isn't like the cultured football he was used to in Europe."

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Europa League
Nikola Zigic
League Cup
Premier League
Obafemi Martins

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