Johnson hails defensive duo

Blackburn Rovers
Bristol City boss Lee Johnson praised his 'formidable' centre-backs, who gave his side the platform to secure a 1-0 win at Blackburn Rovers.

Bristol City boss Lee Johnson praised his 'formidable' centre-backs, who gave his side the platform to secure a 1-0 win at Blackburn Rovers.

Bristol City boss Lee Johnson praised his ‘formidable’ centre-backs, who gave his side the platform to secure a 1-0 win at Blackburn Rovers.

The Robins put on a defensive masterclass, with Adam Webster and Tomas Kalas colossal in the centre of defence, restricting the hosts to just two shots on target before fellow defender Eros Pisano stepped off the bench to direct a corner home from close range in the 80th minute.

Pisano’s second goal of the season ensures the Robins stay firmly in the play-off picture, while simultaneously dealing a blow to Blackburn’s top-six hopes. City remain sixth on goal difference and are 14 unbeaten in all competitions.

They kept up their record of scoring in all of those games but Johnson said the defensive performance gave his side the right to win. He said: ‘I think we showed against a very good side with a fantastic home record that we could do both sides of the game.

‘First half, we were very slick on the counter from that middle third but lacked a bit of quality in the final third. ‘Second half, we dug in.

The pitch got churned up, they’ve got good players. I think Tony Mowbray has done a great job with the resources he’s got, and obviously getting promoted. ‘It was always going to be a tough game. We talked before the game that defences would be important because of both teams’ attacking threat.

I think that showed and we were lucky enough to earn the right to score the winner from the set-piece. ‘They’re top centre-backs, those two (Webster and Kalas). We’re delighted to have them. ‘We went as big as we could go to get Webster (a reported initial 3.5million fee potentially rising to 8m) and he’s got better and better. And Kalas is well proven and enjoying his football. They are a formidable partnership.’

Defeat means Blackburn drop two places to 13th. They are now winless in five against the Robins and are yet to pick up a point this month after a fruitful January.

Manager Mowbray said: ‘It was always going to be a tough game, a team that have won a lot of games on the bounce, have a lot of confidence. ‘We knew it was going to be tight. We talked about it being a game we could win 1-0 with a set-play, a bit of magic from Bradley Dack, free-kick from Charlie Mulgrew.

‘Ultimately it wasn’t to be. They’ve got some very good defenders, carry a physical threat at the top end of the pitch. I thought we worked extremely hard, had spells in the game when we were on top. ‘There was one instance in the second half where we had four or five shots.

It wasn’t to be our day. ‘It’s just the nature of the defeat of course, through a set-play, that leaves it more hurtful I think. ‘You work hard on set-plays, for and against. To lose from that today with a basic ball in our box that wasn’t dealt with is really frustrating for us all.’

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