Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has labelled his side’s Carling Cup win his greatest achievement in football.
Sunday’s last-gasp 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Wembley was a fortunate one for Birmingham, after Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny fumbled the ball, and on-loan striker Obafemi Martins was on hand to tap the winner into an empty net.
McLeish said although City were facing an Arsenal outfit minus stars Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott, he was proud that they relished the challenge in a cup final and came out the winners.
“It’s an achievement when you consider who we were up against,” said McLeish.
“We weren’t given a prayer by the pundits and the bookies but we believed today. It was a titanic performance by the players.”
“We had a game-plan and managed to get our noses in front, that gives you a great chance.”
A frustrated Arsene Wenger accepted his side’s well-publicised title drought – they last won a trophy in the FA Cup in 2005 – will have to continue, but praised Arsenal’s attitude after a shattering defeat.
“I wanted to end our wait for a trophy today,” he told Sky Sports.
“The only thing you can guarantee is the quality of the performance and the attitude. That is of course very important for us. We will have to wait a little bit longer.”
“We got what we expected from Birmingham – they are a team who fight very hard and cause a lot of problems from long balls,” the French boss said.
“Both teams gave everything. Congratulations to them – they got the trophy – but we have regrets with the way we conceded the (second) goal.”
“What can you say? You have to be positive because he (Szczesny) is a young boy. He has to pick himself up from that goal and hopefully he can do that.”