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‘Norwich the best team we've faced’ – Holden

Bristol City lost to the best team “we have played this season” reflected Dean Holden in his assessment of Wednesday’s defeat at Carrow Road.

Jordan Hugill struck twice, despite an air of good fortune in the Canaries’ goals, to seal the points for the Sky Bet Championship leaders.

Holden’s side started well and matched Norwich in spells but couldn’t put the hosts under enough pressure to force a real threat in the final third as they left Norfolk empty handed.

 

Holden told Robins TV: “I thought we lost to a very good team, the best team we’ve played this season. There’s no doubt about that when they get to their level, as a team who have been together for a while, and you can see that in the way they move the ball with top players. It’s always going to be difficult and you need some luck on the night.

“I thought we started brightly, they had chances and Bents made some good saves but we stayed in the game. In the second half we stepped on the game, we played more in Norwich’s half with territory from corners and some balls into the box which we couldn’t get on the end of.”

He added: “The teams who have been relegated from the Premier League have all got very good squads and are well respected and I think Norwich are top of the division [in that respect].”

Famara Diédhiou challenging in the air

And Holden knew it was going to be an even harder ask when Norwich doubled their lead through controversial circumstances, with play allowed to continue despite Tommy Rowe on the floor with a head injury in the build-up to Hugill’s second goal of the night.

“The second goal is the big swing,” he continued. “There’s no doubt Rowe gets a forearm from Hugill but he hasn’t meant it in fairness. He goes down with a head injury, the game doesn’t stop and they score the second goal. We have to work to defend it better but then they see the game out with the quality they have.”

Jack Hunt in action at Carrow Road

There was even a potential foul on Jack Hunt ahead of the opening strike and the referee James Linington was quizzed about this at half-time.

Holden said: “I’ve not seen that (the first goal) back but it looked like Hunty got caught late at the back post. At half-time the referee said he doesn’t give those so you have to get on with it - there’s nothing you can do.”

Holden was frustrated City weren’t able to replicate the levels shown in their impressive display over Preston just a few days earlier and highlighted why they lacked opportunities to attack.

Ádám Nagy moving City forward

He explained:” “We stayed in the game but they’ve scored with the second goal in the 76th minute so at that point, after our change, we were looking to go for it. We weren’t able to pass the ball as well as we did on Saturday.

“Norwich play expansive football so they make the pitch big, they give you problems but they are open on the turnover. We just weren’t able to get that first or second pass off to enable us to get in. We came close but we didn’t execute and that’s the reason we didn’t create anything.”

Holden will now look for his Robins to bounce back in Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round tie against Millwall (January 23rd, 3pm KO), available to watch on BT Sport Extra 6.

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