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We played without our identity - Johnson

Lee Johnson expressed frustration after seeing his side lose 2-1 at home to Preston North End, claiming his side "lacked identity".

The City head coach cited the number of long balls that were launched towards Milan Djuric in a lacklustre first half as an example where his side failed to play to their ideology.

Goals in either half from Paul Gallagher and Callum Robinson secured Preston's win, with Fulham loanee Cauley Woodrow firing in City's late consolation goal.

City were only 1-0 down at half-time but Johnson was far from pleased with the direct football he was seeing. He made two changes at the break - Marlon Pack and Niclas Eliasson replacing Milan Djuric and Jamie Paterson - to try and bring around a change their fortunes.

The head coach summarised the team performance as "frustrating, disappointing and not like us."


He told BCTV: "I thought we lacked identity today, I don't know why we played what felt like 100 long balls in the first half and that certainly wasn't the plan. I don't know why [we did that]. Milan Djuric was on and we need to feed him because what can he do with a 70-yard ball up and around his Adam's apple? He can't do much with it there. We needed to put the extra pass in.

"I didn't take him off because of anything he did, it was because I couldn't understand our first half identity. I wanted the extra pass."


"If you're not going to play sexy football you need to be solid. We were quite solid until the point where they scored."

Lee Johnson


He added "I thought Eliasson was outstanding when he came on and that a massive plus for us. We see him in training every day and in the five-a-sides. He has got great feet, great delivery and I think the fans got to see that for the first time so that was a bright spark, a positive for us.

"I think we were taught a lesson in midfield even though my midfield is very good, I thought Preston's midfielders were excellent.

"We've lost three points from our first half display. There are 1,000 coaching points I could go over about why we didn't do it tonight.

"Our distances between defence to midfield were too big, we were too deep on throw ins, we weren't stopping the supply into their strikers, we weren't making angles quickly enough, we played square to go long...there were a lot of bits where we have to go back to the drawing board.

"If you're not going to play sexy football you need to be solid. We were quite solid until the point where they scored.


City travel to the KCOM Stadium on Saturday as their Sky Bet Championship season continues and Johnson says he has a selection headache on his hands.

He continued: "We have to go through the process which is evaluating what we didn't do well and what we did do well. It will probably be a big team selection for me because there are one or two players that aren't quite firing.

"I think Pato (Jamie Paterson) is a fantastic player but since he was on the drip and suffered that really bad illness he hasn't quite been the Pato that we know and love. We have to be smart in the way we build him up to be the best he can be.

"We need to keep working on Matty Taylor as well because we're losing bodies, like everybody is in the Championship, but to lose Joe Bryan too is a big blow."

Bryan was taken off with a suspected hip injury, with Johnson to evaluate his left-sided player before the trip to Hull.