Gardner: Arsenal were petrified of Big Ziggy

The Birmingham City midfielder Craig Gardner yesterday accused Arsenal of being "petrified" during their Carling Cup final defeat on Sunday. Birmingham were yesterday adjusting to the fact they will be playing in Europe next season after Obafemi Martins' late winner earned the club their first major trophy since 1963, while Arsenal were left licking their wounds.

Salt was then applied liberally by a gleeful Gardner, who said: "We started like a house on fire and we really got into them and you could see they were petrified and they were scared and then it all just went from there.

"Big Ziggy [Nikola Zigic] played up front on his own and I think he bullied them. They were petrified of him, midfielders were running off big Ziggy and we caused them problems. Stephen Carr hit the nail on the head when he said Arsenal have got more ability in the changing room but we have got more heart."

Birmingham's shock victory will not be marked in the traditional way with an open-top bus tour of the city, on safety grounds. Instead, there will be a civic reception at St Andrew's on Sunday.

Manager Alex McLeish said Birmingham would have to strengthen their squad in the summer to cope with the demands of playing in the Europa League next season. McLeish said: "Initially I had forgotten we were in Europe because in Scotland, you don't get into Europe after winning the League Cup. We are so proud to win the cup and get into Europe. But it's not without its problems in terms of needing a strong squad to do that. We have to try and develop the squad further. We will need to strengthen."

City goalkeeper Ben Foster said the club must use the euphoria of their victory to ensure they pull away from the Premier League relegation zone. They currently lie just two points above the bottom three, although they do have two games in hand on their nearest rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United. They also face fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion at St Andrew's on Saturday. Foster said: "To win a cup in my first season here is amazing. We are also in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup; it is a tough match [against Bolton], and we'd love to come back to Wembley again. But we need to take this win, and the confidence that comes with it, into the remaining Premier League fixtures.

"We can't be playing in Europe next season but also the Championship. It is kind of unthinkable. We've been in fairly good form recently and we just need to carry that on and get a few more wins under our belts.

"Every game is a must-win game. We've played a lot of the big teams already and the run-in we've got is advantageous with a lot of teams in and around us. The league at the moment is very topsy-turvy. You win one or two and you are out of danger and you lose one or two and you are back in it.

"The 40 points isn't going to be the magic mark for safety it normally is. I think it is going to be more than that."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence