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Johnson thrilled with strikers' work rate

Lee Johnson was delighted to see his new-look strike pairing set the tone for a dominant first-half display in which his former club Barnsley were blown away on the opening day of the Sky Bet Championship season at Ashton Gate.

Bobby Reid continued his summer hot streak with a brace, assisting the other for Famara Diédhiou, who marked his competitive debut with a goal of his own.

The visitors pulled one back through Ryan Hedges deep into added time, but the damage was done long before the interval.

“It was a strong performance – particularly the first 35-40 minutes,” Johnson told BCTV.

“It was everything we’d worked on in the summer. The boys showed energy and desire, and we had a number of shots.

“Adam Davies made a number of fantastic saves in the first half. To be fair to Barnsley, they were plucky and energetic.

“They had the shot that hit the bar and you never know how that could’ve changed the game, but I did feel that eventually we would break them down just through our players having a bit of quality and power.

“We see Bobby in training and we know he’s a fantastic finisher. Giving him another ten or 15 yards up the pitch gets him in the box a bit earlier and a bit quicker.

WHAT HE SAID

“I thought the better side of their game was how hard the two strikers worked. That’s the thing for me, because it means there will be chances from everywhere in the team."

Lee Johnson

“I’m delighted for him. It’s great to get goals in pre-season, but they’re quickly forgotten if you don’t score in the league. To get the two strikers scoring is great for the team and great for their confidence.

“Famara was unlucky a couple of times when he couldn’t get his feet sorted out, but what a leap – I think he was above the crossbar when he headed it in!

“I thought the better side of their game was how hard the two strikers worked. That’s the thing for me, because it means there will be chances from everywhere in the team.

“I was disappointed to concede the goal. Obviously we’ve lost Tammy Abraham who scored 26 goals, so we’ve got to make sure we’re better defensively and that everyone is chipping in with goals all around the team."

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS ON BCTV

DEFENSIVE OPTIONS

Johnson opted to start with Jens Hegeler alongside new skipper Bailey Wright in central defence, meaning Aden Flint – the subject of interest from Birmingham City – was left on the bench.

Flint was introduced eight minutes from time to rapturous applause from the City supporters.

“You have to take everything into account, but Jens Hegeler has been one of our top performers,” Johnson added.

“He’s the best defender we’ve got in terms of playing out from the back and he’s very smooth.

“I wanted to put Aden on because it’s important we show him the door is still open.”

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