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'We got out of the traps quick' - Holden

Dean Holden praised the Robins after they “got out of the traps quick” to beat Preston North End for the first time in 10 years.

Goals from Famara Diédhiou and Zak Vyner – his first senior goal for the Robins – secured the victory that kicked off City’s 2021 in the Sky Bet Championship.

With Vyner starting his first City game in midfield and Kasey Palmer stepping in on the morning of the game for Antoine Semenyo, who withdrew for personal reasons, Holden was delighted with the performance.

 

Fast start
Holden told Robins TV: “We got out of the traps quick today. Preston are tough opponents and our record hasn’t been too good against them for a while now and we knew the threat that they would pose us.

“We scored a very good goal from a set-piece, which we haven’t done often enough this season so we are pleased with that - a good header from Fam, and for half-an-hour, 35 minutes we were outstanding. The way we passed the ball, created chances and we looked solid at the back and Bents has not had a lot to do in the whole game really, apart from one header off the crossbar."

Control
“I know Alex Neill well – we did our coaching badges together and I know what he’s about and we knew they would come at us in the second half. They did for 15 to 20 minutes, although they didn’t create a great deal, but they had a bit of momentum.

“Then we really stepped on the game in that final period, took control and scored another good goal from Zak – off his shinpad but you have to be there to score – and finish the game quite comfortably.

“There was an impact from the subs too in Nahki Wells and Han-Noah Massengo, who I thought were very good, and overall a clean-sheet and two goals at home was a really pleasing performance.”

Palmer
Kasey Palmer was starting his first City game for 14 months. Holden reflected on Palmer's 70-minute performance, after he stepped in ahead of Semenyo who would miss the game due to personal reasons.

Holden said: “It’s sad news for Antoine and hopefully Antoine will be back with us on Monday and I said before the game that it was important that we put in a performance and a result for him today. Kasey was outstanding and we saw it at Huddersfield when Ádám Nagy came in. This is how we try to work every day, dealing with a little bit of chaos and being comfortable with that.”

“Kasey has put in a really strong performance – we know what he is about and some of his play was great to watch. He tired about in the second half which is why we took him off but he can be really pleased with his 65 minutes.”

Vyner in midfield
Vyner started his first game for City in midfield and Holden explained: “He’s had 10 to 15 minutes there in the previous game (v Portsmouth) and has played there a couple of times when on loan at Aberdeen. I think the attributes he has got along with the fantastic attitude and desire to win that he has got, he is quick, strong in the tackle, can pass and score a goal like we saw today.

“Tyreeq Bakinson has been outstanding in the 15 to 20 games at this level for the first time and it was just the time to freshen it up a little bit. Zak came in with a really strong performance alongside Ádám Nagy in a game against Preston where they go three in midfield and I thought they handled it really well.”

Norwich next
Up next for the Robins is a trip to Carrow Road where they face Norwich City on Wednesday evening (January 20th, 6pm KO), live on Robins TV for Season Card holders.

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