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‘All in all a fantastic afternoon’ – Holden

Dean Holden hailed his players for displaying “the best version of themselves” after they ticked off a convincing 3-1 win away to Middlesbrough.

City have now won their last two games in the Sky Bet Championship, as they keep their play-off hopes alive.

Nahki Wells struck twice and Jamie Paterson put in another sterling display to help the Robins overcome Neil Warnock’s men at the Riverside Stadium.

City are now three points off sixth-placed Cardiff City and Interim Head Coach Holden was in full of praise for his players.

“I’m just really pleased for the lads, they’ve turned up today and put in a performance,” he said. “That’s all we ask of them. Results can go either way but we wanted to come here with a bit of confidence and play their best version of their own game. They did that.

“We knew the threat from Middlesbrough would be the second balls and direct and we handled that well. They had so many long throws and corners and we defended everything. We got away with one which hit the crossbar but we scored three fantastic goals.

“You can see they’re enjoying their football and that’s natural with the win the other night. All in all, it’s a fantastic afternoon, the supporters can enjoy that from afar and now we turn our focus to Wednesday.”

Holden named an unchanged XI for the trip to the North East, meaning Nahki Wells partnered Famara Diédiou in attack.

Wells’ first goal was a wonderful hit as it curled away from the goalkeeper, smacking off the post on its way to opening the scoring. Wells struck his second – his 20th of the season and his fifth in City colours – with a little over ten minutes remaining.

Holden continued: “He’s a top goalscorer, it’s his 20th of the season. Now he has a new challenge to set himself and I won’t say what his target will be, but no doubt he’ll set another because that keeps him motivated and we’ll see where we go in the next one.”

Paterson, who rifled City into a 2-0 lead before half-time put another fine shift in with a Man of the Match display at the Riverside.

“Pato is the type of player who wants to get on the ball, make things happen but when he gets in the final third he can, as we’ve seen in the last few games, he can finish.” Holden said.

“He’s enjoying that football and his partnership with Korey Smith and Andi Weimann. The players deserve the credit, they’re going out there and playing the best version of themselves and that’s what is pleasing.”

Holden will now prepare his players to face Stoke City on Wednesday at Ashton Gate (July 15th, 5pm) in what could be a third-consecutive win.

He added: “We know exactly what to expect after watching them against Leeds and we’ll watch them again tomorrow (Sunday) against Birmingham.

“We know where their threats lie but full focus is on us, on our performance and that sounds boring but it’s what we’ve done in the last few games. You can see what the players have brought on to the pitch and hopefully keep it going.”

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