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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Sunday, September 13th 2020

Holden hails captain’s influence

Dean Holden saluted the additional set-piece training sessions that secured City three points against Coventry City, thanks to captain Tomas Kalas’ headed winner.

The Robins head coach was delighted for the new club skipper to grab the winner in the opening Sky Bet Championship fixture, which came from a corner in the 82nd minute.

Jamie Paterson put the Robins into a 20-second lead before Matt Godden equalised in an eventful first half. Newly-promoted Coventry had put in a good display but Holden’s side improved and snatched a deserved second goal when captain Kalas headed in from a Paterson corner.

Kalas impact

“Tomas Kalas defended the six-yard box brilliantly, I remember a late Zak Vyner block and those are the things you need to do to win a game,” recalled a proud Holden at Ashton Gate.

Holden went on to reveal that his defenders have been doing extra work at both ends of the pitch, as he and his coaches look for ways to gain extra advantages.

He continued: “What a way to start and end his first game as captain with a winning goal. We’ve put more demand on our defenders this year because we know the amount of goals we need to challenge at the top end.

“They’ve been working at the end of each training session with Simmo (Paul Simpson) on set-piece executing, timing and getting used to getting their head on the ball to score rather than defend and it paid fruition today.”

Responding to the captaincy responsibilities

Holden was also encouraged by the off-pitch attitude of City’s match-winning centre-back, who has taken his role as a leader in a serious manner.

Holden continued: “Kalas showed the players a motivational video before the game. He decided yesterday (Friday) afternoon and the media team had to work four or five extra hours to put the video together, albeit with terrible music but maybe I’m just not cool enough to understand that! He took it within himself to do that for the group and that’s what we want to do: to create these leaders so for him to get the winning goal was very pleasing.”

A winning start

Overall, Holden was pleased to start the new league campaign with the three points as he analysed the match.

He said: “I’m delighted to get off to a winning start.

“It’s a great way to start the game [with a goal after] 20 seconds with a very good team goal. After that we lost control of the game, in fairness Coventry have played that system for a couple of season and they play it well. you can see that continuity; we’re still building but we scored and came off the game a little bit.

“We allowed Coventry too much time in possession and they have good players who can hurt you. Having said that, we could have gone 2-0 up with Famara Diédhiou’s header but their keeper made a good save. Bents has made some big saves for us in fairness.

“After the changes in the last half an hour of the game was how we want to play. We passed the ball better, we got after them, we were more aggressive in the press and Andi [Weimann] hit a great strike with his left foot to hit the bar to maybe get us three. It was a good response in the second half, I was really pleased with that and it’s great to get off to a winning start.”

Watch in full: Dean Holden post-Coventry City

 

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