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Johnson's Pride As City Return To Winning Ways

Lee Johnson heaped praise on his players after City dug deep to end their nine-match winless run in the Sky Bet Championship.

Hosting basement club Rotherham United, the game was locked at 0-0 when Johnson introduced a trio of substitutes in the 58th minute.

Fifteen minutes later, all three replacements combined as Milan Djuric headed a crucial winner with his first goal in English football to relieve the tension inside Ashton Gate.

“It was an important game,” the head coach told Bristol City Player HD. “Getting three points was the most important thing and we’ve got them.

“That was not an easy game – our third game in a week and it was tough after playing against Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday, who I think are close to being a Premier League side.

“The players have had to work their socks off. They’ve all run 12 or 13km minimum per game, so massive credit goes to them for showing the character to get a win when sometimes it had turned against us.

“It was always going to get edgy and nervous, but the players kept going. People could’ve gone under but they didn’t – I’m very proud of them for that today.”

Johnson’s game-defining decision just shy of the hour mark involved sacrificing Mark Little, Lee Tomlin and 19-goal top scorer Tammy Abraham, as Jamie Paterson, debutant Matty Taylor and goal hero Djuric entered the fray.

“The decision was based on winning the game,” the boss explained. “I know these players so well – I know the way their bodies move, I know the way their body language is and I just felt the game needed a spark.

“To bring a target man on and two busy players around him gave us the lift that we needed.

“The substitutes were fantastic when they came on. Big Milan got hold of the ball and brought people into play, Matty Taylor was bright, sharp and a constant threat, and Paterson broke forward and got back – we needed to up the energy levels in the last 30 minutes.

“It’s nothing against Tammy and Tommo – I apologise to them but it’s not personal, it’s a case of doing everything we can to win the game.

“I understand the fans’ reaction, but hopefully it’s been proved the right decision.”