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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 2, 2007

Match-winner Larsson relishing new McLeish era

Birmingham's match-winner Sebastian Larsson believes their remarkable 3-2 victory at Tottenham will give the Premier League strugglers the confidence to rise up the table.

Having taken the lead with Gary McSheffrey's first-half penalty, Blues found themselves trailing after two goals in four minutes from Robbie Keane.

However, Cameron Jerome equalised before Keane was sent off for a lunge on Fabrice Muamba and Larsson smashed home a long-range winner in injury time.

'It was very disappointing as after five minutes in the second half we found ourselves 2-1 down,' said Larsson, whose goal gave new manager Alex McLeish victory in his first match in charge.

'But we showed some character to come back.

'It is the first one (goal) in the Premier League for me and it couldn't have been much better.

'It is fresh start for us and we couldn't have asked for more to win at Tottenham.

'We have struggled away from home and to come to Tottenham - they are much better than they are in the table - it will give us confidence we can do this more often.'

Birmingham captain Liam Ridgewell admitted the arrival of McLeish had lifted the dressing room.

'The new manager does that to you. He picked the right formation and the boys went and did it,' he told Sky Sports.

'It is a brilliant result for us.'

McLeish was delighted with the performance of his players and called for them to replicate their endeavour in future matches.

'It was a long 90 minutes. The quality of Tottenham's midfield and forwards was fantastic but we did feel we had a chance of scoring and to score three was unbelievable,' he said.

'We tried to stay within the system we had worked out in training but we had to change it because Spurs' movement was terrific.

'We rode our luck a bit in the first 15 minutes and it would have been all too easy for heads to go down (after going behind) but we have asked them to retain belief and work-rate to the end of the game and I think they got their reward for that.

'We have a lot of work to do. We need for them all to be putting in a shift like they did today.'

Tottenham assistant manager Gus Poyet criticised referee Phil Dowd for appearing to take advice from fourth official Uriah Rennie via his earpiece before deciding to send off Keane.

'When you have a player like Robbie doing so well, getting that decision from the referee hurt a lot,' he told Sky Sports.

'It it is difficult to talk about the ref. I don't know which one refereed today because he (Dowd) asked the fourth official.

'A referee on the pitch is in charge of the game and he should be the one making the decisions. I didn't know you could ask the fourth official to confirm.

'You have to make decisions in split second and sometimes one person can make a mistake but when it is two that is disappointing.'

Keane felt he was harshly treated with his sending-off.

'I didn't think it was a bad tackle. It was just a collision,' he told Sky Sports.

'I'm not a malicious player. I am disappointed, but most of all I'm disappointed we didn't get something out of the game.'

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