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Johnson 'Numb' After Reading Revival

Lee Johnson felt like giving his players “a cuddle and a slap” after City let a two-goal lead slip in the closing stages against Reading at Ashton Gate.

For 72 minutes, the hosts had a game plan and executed it perfectly, taking a two-goal lead courtesy of Tammy Abraham’s brace – the second coming from the penalty spot.

But the visitors got one back through substitute Liam Kelly and the mood inside Ashton Gate soon took a turn, compounded by Yann Kermogant’s 86th-minute equaliser before the Frenchman agonisingly won the game with a low shot three minutes into added time.

“I feel numb because I feel like they (the players) have done really well,” Johnson told Bristol City Player HD. “I almost wanted to give everyone a cuddle and a slap.

“If we’d got a point, it wouldn’t have been a bad result. But from 2-0 up, it’s a total gut-wrencher.

“The [first] goal was massive for them. When they scored that, everything turned. Their crowd whipped up, our supporters got a bit edgy and our players got a bit edgy.

“We dropped deeper and, against a good side like Reading, we couldn’t hold out.

“I thought we were excellent for 70 minutes. I know people will say that one up front at home can lack ambition, but we do our due diligence and we had to make sure we stayed solid and broke.

“We broke very well today and had numerous opportunities at goal – particularly in the first half.

“I feel really sorry for the players. I feel big enough and ugly enough to deal with the pressure that’s forced upon us being in the situation we’re in, but I still feel supported by everyone.

“Obviously everyone is frustrated, but there’s still a lot of hope and a lot of brightness to our future.

“We’ve got some good young players who will only get better. They will be aided by two or three signings in the transfer window – hopefully as soon as possible.

“I think that could change our world. It gives the players a lift and gives us a couple more options.”