Mojo Required For The Play Offs
Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson has conceded that the clubs' outside hopes for automatic promotion are now over following defeat to Cardiff City in the Sevenside last week so what's important now is the team re-find their mojo and get back on track for a Play Off spot.
With the points gap to Cardiff now sitting at 13, Johnson feels that's now insurmountable with the other sides vying for promotion, so he wants the team to refocus themselves after a tough start to 2018 and back up our first half to the year with a solid push for the play off spots.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media this week, a disappointed gaffer restated his 'belief' in the side and he expects them to respond accordingly in the season run in.
'Not now, that`s gone. It`s a play-off spot that we are after now and we have to win enough games to be able to do that. We should play without fear now. We played with fear when on the ball yesterday so that`s what I want to take away. I want to say it`s my fault. If the players play the way I want them to and we don`t win then that`s my fault, but don`t abandon the way I want you to play and lose because that`s the worst thing you can do. It means you won`t be at this football club as of next season and I`ll bring in the guys that will play the system. Our evolution as a team has grown and now we need to go again. As I said, I have never been one to settle for mediocrity.'
Having laid down the gauntlet in terms of what he wants from the side in the next few weeks, Johnson did go on to say that he continued to believe this group of players could deliver.
'We need to get our mojo back. We found it against Fulham but I need a team that believes in the style I want to play. There were some good performances on Sunday which stood up to the strong, physical game but on the ball we weren`t good enough. I genuinely believe in the group of players that I have. We can win games between now and the end of the season.'
With Sheffield Wednesday next up at the weekend, Johnson knew that would be a massive match to bounce back in.
'Sheffield Wednesday is a big game for the individuals to show they can play the game that I am after. They will have a couple of days rest now so we can assess everybody`s lifestyles, what we need to do as a club over the course of the rest of of the season and I think we will give it a shot. I`m devastated we haven`t won the game but I`m upbeat with the group of players I have. We`re in a decent position and things will turn into a positive.'
In terms of an injury update, late assessments will be made on Nathan Baker who took a kick to the head in the Cardiff game and threw up at halftime, but making matters worse he pulled his hamstring in the second half as he battled on.
Famara Diedhiou is also a doubt having been substituted in midweek after feeling a pain in his knee.
Johnson explained about both.
'We hope is just a twinge. He felt in previous games so we will look into that. We may have to change the way we play if we don`t have a focal point up front, if Famara isn`t right, if Milan Djuric isn`t back so it may mean we have to stick smaller players on, who can handle the ball and be busy. It may mean we lose out on the physicality but I do believe that what we have built is strong and we have the options to chop and change.'
Baker in particular is a worry given the depth at the club.
'We might have to look into the open market and see if there are any centre-halves about because at the moment we can`t rely on getting a steady team out.'