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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Tuesday, January 9th 2018

'Superb' Robins not out of the tie - Johnson

City were "superb" against a world-class Manchester City side, declared head coach Lee Johnson.

His City team lost 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, despite a valiant display against England's best.

The Robins took a half-time lead through Bobby Reid's penalty but Kevin De Bruyne equalised before Sergio Aguero headed the hosts in front at the death.

Johnson's side will be out to overturn the Citizens' slender advantage in the second leg at Ashton Gate in two weeks' time.

WE'RE STILL IN THE TIE

Speaking after the match, the head coach told BCTV: “I thought the boys were superb. It’s disappointing to concede late in the manner we did but we’re still in the tie, we have the away goal and the will learn form that.

"There’s nothing quite like learning in play against teams like that, world-class opposition who we fully respected before the game with our team selection and the boys gave it a great go.

“Our fans are disappointed but I know there have enjoyed themselves because of the way they sang, the way they stayed in it and the way they clapped the boys off at the end."

GUARDIOLA IMPRESSED BY ROBINS

Johnson and Man City boss Pep Guardiola exchanged friendly conversation at full time, with the City head revealing the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager had nothing but praise for the Championship club.

Johnson continued: “He was very complimentary about my players and he said most Premier League teams who have come here haven’t performed as well as we did. He encouraged us to keep playing like that and the Premier League won’t be too far away.

“Of course he still came out the winner but Ashton Gate will have 27,000 fans and it will be some game. That’s what I am buzzing with, that we are still in the tie and we can take the atmosphere back to Ashton Gate and produce another really big game.

“I think the team selection will be important,There are big games coming up for both teams; we have our bread and butter in the Championship and they have UEFA Champions League games coming up.

“You could feel the frustration from the [Manchester City] bench when they didn’t score but our boys had to put their bodies on the line.

"We did play some good football, had a good team ethic, good organisation and I think the learning that will come from that and as we advance and evolve with some new signings, then everybody can be very encouraged for the future and the progression of the football club."

REID'S IMPORTANT GOAL

Reid's penalty minutes before half-time sent the away side into dreamland, and the City head coach said it had been "well deserved".

When asked how he felt the moment the ball hit the back of the net, he joked: “I was thinking ‘oh no, don’t make them angry’ but no it was good play [before the penalty]. (Josh) Brownhill took the ball from [Eliaquim] Mangala, we broke and and it was a well-deserved goal.

"We could have had more earlier shots as well, maybe we took too much time getting our shots off but generally I’m very, very pleased with the players and we have learnt an awful lot tonight."

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON BCTV