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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Tuesday, February 26th 2019

‘We gave it a go in the second half’ - Johnson

It was a game of two halves for Lee Johnson whose side responded in the second period but “fell short” on the night against Birmingham City.

The City head coach praised his players for their determination after the break, with goals close to either side of half-time putting the visitors 2-0 up, before substitutes Jamie Paterson and Matty Taylor combined to set up Famara Diédhiou’s consolation.

For Johnson the damage was done in the first 45 minutes but the players can take encouragement having improved with the basics.

First half not good enough

“My reflection is simple: the first half wasn’t good enough and we played into their hands. I thought physically they (Birmingham) were better than us, they dominated the game without the ball and not often that phrase is used but today that was the case.

“In the second half we gave it a go but the second goal was disappointing.

Review of match officials

“We felt there was a block, we knew their free kick routines and we articulated that to the players, they articulated that to the referee but he didn’t see it. This is where referees have to get better, they have to understand. They are full-time now, they have the time to research patterns of play and what teams do, so they let us down there today.

What went well and what didn’t

“The first half killed us, not the second half. We were good in terms of more box entries, we did the basics better and we gave it a go. Inevitably it wasn’t enough today, we all know that, and we go back to the drawing board to muster up a good performance against Preston.

“Confidence isn’t something we will go into the game with but we will take full belief in the basics. There is a fine line between confidence and complacency. We didn’t go into the game complacent today but the opposition forced us into playing sloppy passes.

Watching from the stands

“They were brighter in transition and that was disappointing for me. I was in the stand frustrated because I couldn’t get down there in the mix when a couple of them needed livening up but we couldn’t do it.

“I thought I would enjoy it more as an experience. Certainly, we tried to pick holes, I changed formation three times, got us back in it and the box entries were better in the second half but inevitably we fell short today.”

Match sponsor: British Army

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