McLeish Pleased With Players Restraint
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish was pleased with his side after they showed the upmost discipline and self-control despite being frustrated by the decisions of referee Howard Webb in the 0-0 draw with Villa at the weekend.
Fines and bans were handed out after the corresponding fixture last season, but lessons were learnt from the episode even though there was a penalty appeal turned down after Nigel Reo-Coker handled inside the box and then the same player appeared to kick out at Craig Gardner but escaped a red card.
But McLeish's players showed restraint and deserved a share of the spoils.
McLeish said: 'I was very pleased with the performances of the players and proud of the total commitment. They also kept their heads as well. The discipline was brilliant.
'Gardner was treading egg shells with the early booking he received but it was another notch in his education in dealing with that and well done to him.
'The last time we were here, we ended up in trouble. We were fined. There were some comments made and we handled it a bit over-zealously.
'But we did learn a lesson. I told them to zip it, not get involved with the referee or the officials because they would give you short shrift.
'Fair credit to the players, they were courteous to the officials but still able to play with the passion.'
On the penalty decision McLeish added: 'He moves his arm. It is human instinct but we've not had much luck with penalties over the last couple of years.
'It was no surprise not to see it given.'
But McLeish felt Reo-Coker could have been red carded after appearing to catch Gardner with a kick in the second half.
'It doesn't seem Reo-Coker and Gardner get on. I deduced that one quite early. I did my Sherlock Holmes on that one!
'The ref makes the decision and rightly or wrongly Reo-Coker had a lash out. Some referees interpret it differently and don't see it as violent conduct.
'We saw the same with Samir Nasri at Arsenal a few weeks ago when he kneed Liam Ridgewell in the backside. I've seen them get sent off for that.'
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