Bristol City manager Lee Johnson reflected on a massive win for his side as they beat Sheffield United 2-1 in The Championship at Bramall Lane on Friday evening.
Johnson saw his side dominated for the majority of the first-half as the Blades hit the woodwork three times. However, his side were able to take the lead just before half-time courtesy of a superb strike from Jamie Paterson who was an injury doubt prior to kick-off.
His side were pegged back immediately at the start of the second-half as Leon Clarke got the home side back on level terms. However, John Fleck's controversial dismissal gave his side a significant advantage and they were able to grab all three points in the dying moments courtesy of Aden Flint.
Johnson was quick to point out just how significant this win is for his side in his post-match press conference. He said: "It was a massive win. I thought Sheffield United were outstanding and they were the better side for the first 60 minutes. I had to change the shape three times due to their relentless quality."
He added: "It was about dealing with the atmosphere, dealing with the quality up until we got the stroke of luck with the sending off. I have not watched it back myself but people have told me it was."
Johnson hails the resilience of his side
It has been a remarkable turnaround from Johnson's side after the Robins only just avoided relegation to League One last season. Johnson feels that the younger players have more experience this campaign which is why they are performing significantly better.
He said: "The boys have been fantastic. We did not have a great away record last year. Maybe last year we would have caved under that relentless pressure. To come out with a win, (it shows) that we are here on merit."
He admitted that Fleck's dismissal shortly before the hour mark was a huge moment in the game but believes his side used their numerical advantage very efficiently. He said: "I thought we controlled the game (after Fleck's dismissal). I thought we were very intelligent. We got the win because of their resilience to stay in it."
He added: “I do not like the word lucky because we have still had to put our bodies on the line. I suppose the bit of fortune was the sending off. Whether we would have sustained the one goal conceded without the sending off, I do not know. We always felt that if we could get two or three quick passes out, we would be dangerous on the counter.”
Injury crisis at Ashton Gate?
Johnson already had a long list of absentees to contend with ahead of this match and the injury crisis at Ashton Gate continues to get worse. Korey Smith was taken off following Fleck’s challenge and looks set to be sidelined for a significant amount of time.
Johnson feels that they can simply not afford to pick up anymore injuries. He said: "(Korey is) not in great shape. He has got a four or five inch gash. We cannot afford anymore injuries."
He added: "It is a big concern at this stage. Hopefully it will not be as bad (as first thought)."
However, Johnson was quick to praise his side on how they have dealt with everything he has asked of them and was also keen to highlight centre-half Flint's contribution as he continues to pop up with vital goals for the Robins.
He said: "I have had to change that shape three or four times today. Nobody moaned, nobody argued. They did their job."
He added: "He (Flint) is quickly becoming an icon and a hero at the football club. He scored four yesterday in training against the Under 23s. I thought he was excellent."