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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Saturday, March 2nd 2019

'We had to dig deep today' - Johnson

Lee Johnson hailed the hard work of his group as they battled from behind to secure a valuable point against Preston North End.

The City head coach praised his three substitutions for helping the fightback, notably Antoine Semenyo who made only his second club appearance.

The 19-year-old striker came off the bench and was in inspired form, before Famara Diédhiou struck the equaliser to cancel of Daniel Johnson's first half goal as City left Preston in positive spirits.

Johnson 'chuffed' but frustrated with opener

He said: "It’s a brilliant point, I’m really chuffed with the lads. We had to do our first-half jobs better. The players are aware that the free kick [which Preston scored from] is a regular routine of theirs. Even at the time it was verbally called on so I am disappointed with that one.

"However, to get a point from that position is brilliant. The subs were excellent and dealt with the occasion and the situation. This was our third game in a week and the boys had to dig deep, energy levels-wise and that showed in both the spirit of the players and travelling fans."

Semenyo's inspiration

"I wanted some young, raw hungry energy and he is one of the best, perhaps the best at our club in terms of holding the ball up and wriggling and rolling because he is so strong. He’s just turned 19 and I’m delighted to get him on to the pitch.

"Congratulations go to the BCFC Academy because although we brought him in, they spotted him and we’ve used him early. It’s been a rapid rise for him but that shows that this is a fantastic place to be because we trust our young players."

The fans' support

"They were great and we really appreciate their support. I know it’s not easy, it’s expensive and takes time but this is it now, it’s the big stage of the season. We need everybody to travel with us, as many as possible and enjoy the effort of the players."

Declan Rudd's stop to deny Semenyo

"We had two or three breaks and it was an unbelievable save from Rudd against Antione and that was my only real disappointment from the day. Antoine connected, did everything right but it was an unbelievable save."

Mäenpää's potential injury

"We’ll have to see. It was partly precautionary because of his previous calf issue and it was tight. Max came on, we know what he can do and we trust Max. With Frankie Fielding out, we hope Niki will come back as quickly as possible, but we will have to see."

City return to league action on Saturday (March 9th, 3pm KO) when they host Leeds United at Ashton Gate.

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