Mario Melchiot has expressed his frustration at Birmingham City's tendency to adopt a long-ball style of play.

The Holland international right-back lamented Birmingham's performance in their goalless draw against Portsmouth in the Premiership on Saturday evening and he says that the squad have enough talented players to embrace shrewder tactics.

Birmingham survived with a direct style when they first moved into the Premiership in 2002 but, since then, the quality of players has improved and this has emphasised the need for a more patient way of performing.

Melchiot appreciates the benefit of playing the long ball where appropriate - for example, to make use of Emile Heskey's height and strength - but the Birmingham squad is now awash with players, such as Jermaine Pennant, Walter Pandiani and Mehdi Nafti, who prefer to keep the ball on the ground.

Melchiot's comments are not directed at Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager, but they are a timely reminder of how circumstances have changed at St Andrew's. No longer is scrappy football accepted by players or fans.

"Sometimes you just have to take and make use of the ball; some of us sometimes do not concentrate on that and that is why we struggle," Melchiot said. "You have to play. You cannot just always play the direct ball. We try to get the ball and play it long straight away and sometimes, especially for me, that kills me.

"In the first half I was so frustrated by just seeing the ball go long every time and I could not get into the game. At half-time the manager started to get angry and told some of the players to get on to the ball and give it to some of the other players.

"We do not always need to play a long-ball game because we have more quality than just that and I think we bring ourselves down sometimes.

"If you look at the players we have got - those who have come to the club, and the players who are likely to come - they are all football players. So it is not as if we have to play like that.

"We have the ability to pass the ball and, sometimes when it does not work for us, we go straight away long instead of taking the responsibility of getting on the ball and playing. That was our biggest problem on Saturday. I do not want to say it is every game. If you look at the Chelsea game the previous week [when Birmingham drew 1-1], we played football. It definitely suits four or five of our team when we play football."

Melchiot, who has become one of Birmingham most astute signings since the club moved into the Premiership, says that the direct approach can limit his own contribution.

"If I do not get the ball within a couple of minutes I know the manager is going to start complaining from the side that I have to get on the ball and get the team playing," Melchiot said.

"But, when you only play direct, it makes it very difficult for us. I only started playing in the second half and the reason I started playing then was because I got the ball more. We are better than we show sometimes.

"I get frustrated when not winning games, especially against teams that you should be beating. All respect to Portsmouth, you need to win. We stopped playing. When you stop playing, it is difficult.

"I come here with the ability I have to play football and sometimes when we play direct, I do not mind. But when it goes all the time, the game passes me by I cannot put my influence on the pitch and then the manager gets frustrated. But I say if the ball goes direct, then it is very difficult for me.

"I am a professional player and patience sometimes kills me. It is my honest feeling. Sometimes as a player you need to be patient but when I am on the pitch I am a very difficult player to stay patient especially when I see that you can do it a different way and win the game."