‘Horribly’ - Curtis Fleming’s honest assessment of Bristol City’s win over Coventry

Bristol City edged past Coventry City at Ashton Gate
Curtis Fleming on the Ashton Gate touchline Curtis Fleming on the Ashton Gate touchline
Curtis Fleming on the Ashton Gate touchline

Curtis Fleming praised Bristol City’s character in their ‘horrible’ win over Coventry City at Ashton Gate on Saturday.

Rob Dickie rose the highest moments before the half time whistle to net the sole goal of the game, as he bundled aside Kyle McFadzean to guide home Taylor Gardner-Hickman’s set piece.

The Robins faced some heavy spells of Coventry pressure, as the visitors struck the crossbar twice and missed several big chances. However, the hosts looked much more assured as the game went on and got over the finish line fairly comfortably.

“After the Stoke game we said to the lads that we could’ve been four or five nil up at half time, we lost the game 3-2 and Nige said that at times you’ve got to win horribly,” Fleming said.

“You’ve got to win horribly in this league and the three points is everything. Sometimes you’ve played unbelievable stuff and got nothing. It’s what we always say, isn’t it, it’s football and that’s what it is but I thought we showed a real character today. Defending, players playing out of position. I thought Andy King was outstanding beside Rob Dickie. Mark Sykes at full back.”

Numerous recent injury troubles meant Nigel Pearson had to re-jig the line up a little. The Robins began the match in a 3-4-1-2 formation, before switching to their usual 4-3-3, which led to a much more balanced feel to the team.

Fleming continued: “I think it was important that we made a decision, the two lads (Kal Naismith and Joe Williams) pulled out injured yesterday. We’d worked on shape, we’d worked on everything that you do, so again we had to make a couple of changes overnight.

“We made the full decision to see how they were today but they weren’t right so we had to do that. So it probably looked like that for the first 30, 35 minutes but I think the change in shape, going back really helped us.”

Dickie got the goal and was a standout performer on the day. the ex-QPR man won countless aerial duels and delivered a brilliant last-ditch block from Yasin Ayari in the closing moments.

With Naismith, Rob Atkinson and Zak Vyner all out injured, Dickie is City’s only fit centre back. The defender lost his place in the team after he was sent off against Birmingham last month, but Fleming said how impressed he has been with Dickie’s attitude.

“We want people that don’t go and sulk, that come in and want to do well and want to keep their place in the team and he’s been great around the place and I think his performances have shown that,” he said.

“So for him it’s wonderful but I thought it was real collective performance today. I think the thing about the result today was collective and we’ll have games where we have... I think it was the Stoke game we had 66, 68 percent possession. Coventry had 68 percent possession today and we got a win. So at the end of the day… there’s a few things we definitely need to work on.”

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