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‘We must stay strong and believe’ – Johnson

Lee Johnson says City can muster a promotion challenge if they stay strong and believe over the course of the next 12 games.

Individual mistakes cost City on Saturday as they lost 3-0 at home to West Brom, but Johnson believes his players can stand up and rise to the challenge.

They sit only one place outside the top six and the head coach says a mix of attack and “more stoutly” defending will help the cause of challenging for the play-offs.

Hear Lee Johnson’s post-match thoughts:

Better quality needed

“I didn’t think there was an awful lot in the game. I thought we started bright in the first 10/15 minutes and we didn’t work the goalkeeper but we got into good areas, had a couple of dangerous free kicks and had deliveries we should have done better with or got on the end of.”

Individual errors

“We had a little spell of a lot of individual errors which led to conceding free kicks, corners, players not doing their jobs and at that point you have to ride out those moments against a good side. We did that and then we shot ourselves in the foot with a poor individual error for the first, two poor individual errors for the second and a bad one for the third.

“I’m not going to chastise the players for their effort because they worked hard. At times, West Brom showed their quality, at times we made bad decisions that played into their hands and we have to accept we failed to go against the top two teams. It doesn’t mean that in these final 12 games that we can’t be successful.”

Everyone can inspire each other

“I want the players to inspire each other and the staff who do an awful lot for the boys. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into the preparation and for them to go and execute it on the day.

“Naturally people will speak negatively of us after two losses and that’s where we have to create the cause, stay strong and we have to try and perform to our best to go and get wins. We can do that, we have done it before. I believe in the squad, the individuals. The dilemma now is about which individual is ready to come in and take the opportunity, but the focus is on the next opportunity at Huddersfield.”

Stepping up

“The shape becomes a dilemma. I have two centre-forwards there, we’ve bought in Nahki Wells and lost Josh Brownhill which today we saw was a big loss but we gained the goal-scoring quality and finesse of Nahki Wells. Somebody has to step into Josh Brownhill’s shoes and they have to do that in their own way, not be Josh Brownhill, but be the best version of themselves.

“We need to find that balance quickly to then go and not only win matches by scoring, but also defend more stoutly than we have in these last two games.”