Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish believes that his players are finally starting to show the mental strength that is needed for a gruelling Championship campaign.
Despite admitting to having mixed feelings, McLeish was generally pleased with the point Birmingham salvaged from Saturday’s top-of-the-table encounter at Molineux.
The 1-1 draw with leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers maintained the status quo at the lofty end of the Championship and Birmingham will now keep one eye on third-placed Reading’s match with Coventry tonight to see if the Royals manage to chip into their cushion of seven points.
The club’s current position is pleasing for McLeish but it is his players’ psychological robustness that is even more satisfying for the Scotsman.
“The players know what’s at stake,” said McLeish. “Trying to win every single game is hard on some mentalities especially coming from a division where it wasn’t important to win every single week, it was just important to keep your head above water. Now we have to adopt a different level of mental strength and I think they’re adjusting.
“Our players should take great confidence, reassurance and entitlement with the way they played against Wolves and take that forward.
“It would have been a big gap if we had lost but nothing was ever going to be decided on Saturday.”
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy was also left satisfied, largely with the way his side reacted once they fell behind to Cameron Jerome’s goal shortly into the second-half and he believed that, after Sylvan Ebanks-Blake equalised, the hosts could have easily secured all three points.
“What was most pleasing for me was that we got better in the game having gone one-nil down to a very good side,” said McCarthy. “We then took the game to them and thoroughly deserved the equaliser.
“I’m not going to suggest that we deserved it but we could have won it. We were the ones that had the chances in the last knockings of the game and we were full of running at the end.
“ In the second-half it was a poor goal for us to concede and then they had the better of it for ten minutes or so. Once we recovered quite quickly from their goal, we started playing and I thought we ended up the stronger side and we were the most likely winner.
“However overall it was a fair point for both sides.”