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McLeish thrilled to see "big levels" from creatives aces in Wigan win
Alex McLeish's post-match verdict.
1st Oct 2011
McLeish thrilled to see "big levels" from creatives aces in Wigan win


By Paul Brown at Villa Park

Alex McLeish was thrilled to see his attacking stars show "big levels" of performance - including the "frightening" Gabby Agbonlahor.

McLeish has been pleased with the form of his back four, including Shay Given, but he's been looking for improved creativity in the final third.

He certainly got that in the clash with Wigan, with man of the match Agbonlahor, in particular, turning on the style.

McLeish was a dynamic defender himself and admitted he'd have relished taking on Agbonlahor.

He said: "It was a good performance.

"At last we had big levels from our creative players. That's probably what's been missing in the past few games because we have had a lot of opportunities without executing the final ball and for me that has happened in a lot of matches.

"Charles is finding his feet, Benty has been injured, wee Barry has come in and is starting to look impressive, Stephen - when he settled into the game - showed some great touches and good ingenuity and that's the kind of thing that makes the difference.

"In the first half against QPR we could barely string two passes together. We upped our game in the second half and today was very, very good.

"We have had solid performances from our defenders and Shay who have to be the most consistent players in the team, bottom line. That's what happens.

"The defenders have to be highest in terms of consistency but if we can get the creative players to the same level - as I said in my programme notes - they can cause any defender problems.

"Gabby's pace was frightening. I would have hated to have played against him in that form. It would have been a hell of a challenge.

"With Gabby it's been a bit of constructive information to him and also, I suppose, loving him.

"He's a player when I got this job he was always in my head when I contemplated and then took the job.

"How can we get him in the team? He has so much to offer and he's better than I thought and he can be even better. That depends on Gabby.

"The attitude and application so far is that of a determined player."

On the injury front, McLeish revealed Agbonlahor - under England consideration for the latest squad - is struggling with a sore back.

Ireland was withdrawn with an ankle injury early in the second half while Jermaine Jenas has been ruled out for a month with an achilles problem.

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