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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Saturday, September 15th 2018

Johnson hails 'excellent' Robins

Lee Johnson praised his team's defensive and attacking display as they secured a fourth-consecutive win and earned a third clean sheet of the season.

They did so by beating Sheffield United 1-0 through Marley Watkins' late header.

City were on top for large spells, the Blades showing at times why they have been tipped as league challengers but City's ability to switch it up in the second half paid dividends. 

"I thought it was an excellent performance," Johnson said, describing the game at Ashton Gate.

"I understand it wasn’t always beautiful, I thought it would have been a little more end-to-end, more open but both sides nullified each other. Sometimes you have to do that, we had to show them respect, despite being at home: they score more than anybody else in the first half, they got more crosses, create more and we completely nullified what is a big threat.

"They had one good chance with David McGoldrick who should have hit the target but I trusted our fitness, I trusted our substitutes. The boys upped their game at the right time in the match and then it was pretty much all us."

WATCH: JOHNSON'S POST-MATCH REACTION IN FULL

It was the second-half substitutes Callum O'Dowda and Watkins who combined, with the Republic of Ireland winger's cross met by the Welshman's looping header, which saw the ball nestle into the top left corner of the goal.

"I thought the subs were excellent," Johnson continued. "They gave us the lift we needed, they put Sheffield United on the back foot and I’m delighted for Marley to score another goal at home. He should have scored his first chance with the earlier header but its good he got the second one."

The City head coach then reflected on another clean sheet for his side, who have now conceded just one goal in their last four matches.

"The clean sheets are so important…we’ve talked about the strength in the back line. (Jay) Dasilva has come in today and played well, Bakes (Nathan Baker) was on the bench, Eros (Pisano) unfortunately has a niggle and Bailey (Wright) is still to come back as well.

"But we’re moving in the right direction. I’ve said we’ll still need to improve on things but all teams are the same unless they’ve been together for a couple of years."

Johnson added “recovery is now the most important thing” as City prepare their second of three games in just seven days, when they travel to take on West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday.

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