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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 9 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Dec 27, 2007

McLeish aims to 'build the belief' after Boro win

Alex McLeish hopes he can continue to cajole winning performances out of his Birmingham team as they try to keep up the momentum after their heartening 3-0 win over Middlesbrough.

The Blues sneaked above Boro in the low mid-table of the Barclays Premier League thanks to yesterday's success at St Andrews.

But as McLeish prepares his team to try to chalk up another three points at home to poor travellers Fulham on Saturday, he reports he has much to ponder.

'The manager has to think about everything, while the players go home and think 'our performance wasn't very good',' said the former Scotland manager.

'Even if they have won the game they will go home and think that way.

'Then there is a confidence factor involved, and my job is to build the belief in these guys.'

Man management is always high on McLeish's priority list.

'We have to work on the mentality side of the players and to get a tough mentality playing for this club week in and week out,' he added.

'If we can take the apprehension away it will allow them to grow in belief and improve the playing performances and the fortunes of the club.'

Positive thinking is key.

'We must ensure that the players do not see each game as a threat. It is a challenge,' McLeish insisted.

'We played with a bit of a freedom against Middlesbrough - and if we can take away that apprehension it will enable them to grow in belief in their own ability.'

One player McLeish hopes can grow in confidence is striker Cameron Jerome.

He has five goals to his name this season - but they have all been away from home.

The manager explained: 'We are working on his ability to hold up the ball after using his pace.

'He is only 21, and there is a lot of improvement yet to come.

'We have got to impress upon him that he can do this job. But we do not want to work too much on things that maybe he has not got.

'We have encourage what he is good at.'

McLeish singled out Franck Queudrue for praise, after he came in to play a key role in the victory against Middlesbrough.

The former Middlesbrough and Fulham defender made his first start for nine games, McLeish opting to recall him at left-back in place of Mat Sadler.

Queudrue did not let him down, and McLeish hopes the Frenchman can continue that form into the new year.

Former Rangers and Scotland boss McLeish said: 'I have got to compliment Franck. He has come in from the cold almost.

'Franck was never really out of the equation - but when I spoke to him a few weeks ago I felt that he needed a wee bit more sharpness and mobility fitness-wise.

'He has worked on that with the fitness coach over the last couple of weeks, and it has really fallen into place for him.'