Alex McLeish believes Birmingham are paying the penalty

Last updated : 15 January 2011 By Daily Mail

The City boss feels they have been on the wrong end of severalcrucial spot-kick decisions by referees which could have altered thecourse of their campaign.

Bubbling with anger: McLeish still fuming at controversial decision

Blues' failure to be awarded a penalty during the Carling Cup semi-final with West Ham - when Matthew Upson appeared to push Barry Ferguson - was the final straw for McLeish.

He has now felt the need to state the case publicly for his side after seeing other managers complain about not getting a fair deal from officials - and then seeing their fortunes change.

McLeish, whose side entertain derby rivals Aston Villa tomorrow, said: 'We've definitely been on the wrong side of decisions with penalties this season, without question.

'You wonder what we've got to do to get a penalty.

'You've seen the handball by Robin van Persie, the double handball against Villa (Nigel Reo-Coker), the Blackpool player, Craig Cathcart, then Seamus Coleman handling against Everton.

'They are all crucial decisions. People might people say "Everton, they were the better team" or "Arsenal were the better team by a mile" when they played us.

'But it could be so different if you get the decisions that are clear-cut. We haven't had a fair share of bad decisions.'

When asked why this was occurring, McLeish said: 'I've kept saying we are quite unfashionable and maybe that has had something to do with it.

'Maybe it's a case of thinking Birmingham won't make a song and dance about it. But I've got to protect my club.

Pressure: Gereard Houllier

'I hear other managers out there talking about things going against them and all of a sudden, they have a good run of results.'

Birmingham will tackle a Villa side in the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League and McLeish knows from experience that the pressure intensifies when you are in the danger zone.

He said: 'There is no doubt anyone feels the pressure in any game but when you are in the bottom three, the pressure intensifies.

'Our players showed a couple of weeks ago their character when they were in there.

'I'm sure Gerard Houllier will be looking for that character from his Villa players.'

Houllier has come under the spotlight after Villa's poor form even though club owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner have continued to back him.

But McLeish insists the Frenchman is not unique in being in such a position and how the situation can change for managers from week to week.

He said: 'We keep saying it is ludicrous but we are all in the same boat.

'Gerard is not on his own with this. Every manager is in the same boat.

'They are all under pressure. If I can make an example, I think we played one up against Manchester City and people are saying "it is great".

'But we play one up against West Ham, batter them second half, get beat, and people say "it is not great and it is down to selection". That is how fickle it is.

'Gerard is not unique in being criticised. We are all there, every other week.

'Unless you get right up that table, you are vulnerable.'

McLeish will be without central defender Scott Dann who tore his hamstring against the Hammers.

But midfielder Lee Bowyer will be available after completing a three-match suspension.

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 Explore more:People: Matthew Upson, Robin Van Persie, Barry Ferguson, Lee Bowyer, Scott Dann, Alex McLeish, Gerard Houllier Places: Birmingham

Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail