‘Poor’ - Bristol City’s bottle questioned by Nigel Pearson after Lincoln City defeat

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Here is what the Robins’ manager had to say

Nigel Pearson questioned his Bristol City players’ ‘bottle’ following their disappointing 3-1 Carabao Cup defeat to League One Lincoln City on Tuesday night.

The Imps struck twice in the first 15 minutes through Matty Virtue and Ben House, before Paudie O’Connor extended their lead soon after the break. Tommy Conway pulled a goal back late on, but the Robins were knocked out in a comfortable fashion on the night.

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When asked whether his players lack confidence, Pearson replied: “I don’t know if it’s a lack of confidence or it’s a lack of bottle, quite frankly. Because when the subs came on it was a different game.

“The fact that I leave Andy King on in centre-back I think says everything, because I thought Kingy was visible. He’ll have the ball, others didn’t do that.”

The hosts were strong favourites coming into the game but offered little in terms of intensity, ideas and quality. Pearson made eight changes from his side's 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough on Saturday and put the poor performance down to the lack of options in the team.

“I think what it does more than anything, it shows that we don’t have the depth of quality in the squad,” he said.

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“You look at when we made changes in the second half. Our intensity got better, we huffed and puffed but congratulations to them. We are our own worst enemy and unfortunately, we didn’t give ourselves a chance of winning the game. The chances we made we spurned and we gave away poor goals again.”

Despite their poor defensive display, the Robins created several big opportunities on the night. Antoine Semenyo missed a golden chance when he shot wide from inside the box at 2-0, and Chris Martin came close to making the score 3-2 when his close-range effort rolled agonisingly wide.

Lincoln, like most teams of late, sat back at times at Ashton Gate, and the hosts seemed to have no answer. When asked whether it’s a concern that his side fail to break down deep defences, he said: “It’s a fair question but I’d also say to you we've missed some sitters tonight. We've had good chances, what we haven’t done is take them.”

Four half-time changes, including the introduction of goalscorer Conway, provided Pearson’s side with more impetuous at the start of the second half. But, the third goal on the 49-minute mark stunned any chance of the Robins gaining any momentum.

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“Two-nil is a score which is quiet, at two-nil the next goal is always going to be important, and unfortunately we conceded it,” he said.

“We just gave ourselves too much to do because we were poor tonight and there’s no getting away from that. Lots of things to solve before the weekend.”

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