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‘Not the level we expect today’ – Holden

Dean Holden expects to see more from his Bristol City side as they look to bounce back from defeat at the hands of Reading.

The Robins were not on top of their game at the Madejski Stadium, where Ovi Ejaria, Yakou Meite and Lucas Joao scored in a 3-1 win for the hosts.

Nahki Wells had equalised before the Royals managed to hit City on the break late on.

The last time City tasted defeat they went five games without victory, and Holden does not want to see that creep in again, with his team set to face QPR in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday (December 1st, 7.45pm KO).

Head Coach Holden told Robins TV: “I think in the Norwich game and this afternoon we just weren’t at our level for whatever reason. We didn’t pass the ball as well as we can, we were loose in our possession.

“We’ve conceded a goal in the first half, we’ve let Ejaria cut infield which isn’t what you want to be doing, but it was a deflection. We’ve then got back in the game out of nothing and the mentality has to be if we can get another goal and win it then great, but we make sure we don’t lose it.

“We became a bit open a bit too easily, that’s where the second goal came from and by the third, we’re chasing it. It’s a cheap giveaway, they punish us on the counter-attack and they’ve got good players in that area who can do that.”

Holden also discussed the potential City penalty appeals which were dismissed by the officials, however he acknowledged there were no excuses.

“You have to chance the game to get back into it, of course you do. Once we got the equaliser, there’s a chance for Chris Martin at the back post where the defender is doing everything he can to stop him heading it, and for sure the potential penalty with Callum O’Dowda in the box. But you can’t always rely on the referee to get everything right.

“That’s not an excuse. We were nowhere near our level today and I’ve just said to the players the last time we lost a game we didn’t win for another five. So that’s our challenge now, we take care of that and it’s been an issue for a few seasons - if we are being honest about it. We have to put that to bed quickly.”

A positive of the afternoon in Berkshire was a league debut for young Opi Edwards, who came off the bench late on to make only his second City appearance since the 2017/18 campaign.

Holden explained: “I thought late in the game we could throw him on as an attacking full-back and see if he can get that opportunity for a one-on-one. It’s always great for youngsters to make their debut but what you want is for it to be on a winning afternoon.

“It’s a disappointing afternoon, Opi will enjoy that personally but from our point of view as a team it’s disappointing, we weren’t at the level and we have to move on quickly.”

City now turn their attentions and preparation to Tuesday night’s trip to the capital, where Holden wants a reaction from the squad.

He said: “We’ve got another game in 36 hours and we have to get ready for that. What I think we’ve done this season is not get too high when we win and don’t panic when we lose games.

“I’m gutted inside of course but we’ve got a huge game Tuesday and you can’t feel sorry for yourself; you can’t do it because you then go into these runs. We’ve got to make sure on Tuesday we are firing on all cylinders and we are ready to get into another game to try and get a win.”

QPR v City will be streamed exclusively live on Robins TV, with passes now available to supporters.

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