Hleb: Birmingham are no Barca or Arsenal

Birmingham City midfielder Alexander Hleb has confessed that his team-mates are “not the same quality” as former clubs Barcelona and Arsenal.

The Belarus international has joined the St Andrew’s side on a season-long loan from Barcelona, having previously plied his trade at Arsenal for three seasons.

And he admitted that there is a different mentality and amount of quality at Birmingham.

“Of course it’s different, I know that. Everybody can see that it’s different,” Hleb told the Birmingham Mail.

“Here there is not the same quality from the players. People don’t keep the ball as much. We need to fight for points, game to game.

“I need to accept this and try to bring my best to this team.”

The 29-year-old scored his first goal for the Blues in their League Cup victory against MK Dons on Wednesday.

Hleb added: “It was good for me to score. We did well in the first half and scored three good goals.

“We were playing well but after that it was not so good. I don’t know why, we were scared and didn’t control the ball. We lost it.

“We need to learn, after this we will play against teams who are much better. But it was OK.”

Meanwhile, Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has challenged his side to make history by avoiding defeat against Wigan in Saturday's Premier League clash.

The club will equal their top-flight record of 18 games unbeaten at home if they draw or defeat the Latics.

By Luke Nicholls

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