McLeish: Talk of Champions League ridiculous

In a season of surprises in the Premier League, Birmingham City's quiet climb up to seventh in the table has been among the most unheralded.

Promoted back to the top flight in May a year after relegation to the Championship, Birmingham's priority was simply to maintain their place among the elite.

Although they are currently on an 11-match unbeaten run, manager Alex McLeish says staying up is still the goal and he has dismissed the idea of bringing European football back to St Andrew's after a gap of almost half a century.

"Talk of Champions League is ridiculous," McLeish told BBC Radio following their 1-0 win at Stoke City on Monday.

"If we finish higher than the original target that's a bonus for us, and the lads have proved a few people wrong. They said we would struggle and there is no evidence of that so far but we know we have a long way to go and Premier League survival is still our priority this season."

Birmingham's victory at Stoke on Monday was their 11th league game unbeaten, eclipsing their old record set 101 years ago. Since losing to Arsenal on October 17, Birmingham have won seven and drawn four games.

McLeish has fielded the same starting team for the last eight games and although he has acknowledged the dangers of burnout among his players, he is taking a positive attitude towards the situation.

"If the pyschological side is as good as it is in our dressing room, you don't feel tired," he said.