McLeish pays tribute to 'Chucho'

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Football News

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish paid tribute to Christian Benitez after he inspired his side to a 2-1 triumph at Portsmouth last night.

The Ecuadorian forward fed strike partner Cameron Jerome for both his first-half goals and caused the Pompey rearguard all manner of problems in the opening 45 minutes.

Benitez, who has only troubled the scorers on three occasions himself this season, had a golden opportunity to net one of his own after 39 minutes, when he beat the offside trap and rounded goalkeeper David James, only to be halted by a last-ditch tackle from Hermann Hreidarsson.

"I thought Chucho had lost a bit of confidence in the last few weeks. He had an injury and perhaps wasn't feeling quite his best," said McLeish.

"The players were finding it difficult to find him on the pitch and he wasn't getting into any of the little pockets he had been looking dangerous in during the early part of the season.

"He came on last Saturday and I think he got a wee lift from his performance. He created a bit and he looked very dangerous tonight."

Avram Grant

Meanwhile, Portsmouth boss Avram Grant admits the club's administrators have a tough task ahead of them in the coming months.

Chief administrator Andrew Andronikou has called a press conference at Fratton Park for Wednesday afternoon, where he is expected to announce a series of redundancies.

Grant said: "I spoke with him and he is trying to do the best for the club. We are not in a good situation and everybody knows there are financial problems.

"I think the administrator has a hard job, but I hope everything will be okay. This club deserves to come through without any problems, particularly as the current issues came from people who are not involved with the club.

"The biggest problem has been that we didn't know what the problems were. I think he is trying to find out what they are and find the solution."

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