Bristol City player hailed as Slaven Bilic offers words of encouragement to Nigel Pearson
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Despite 15 places separating the two sides before the match, the disparity in the table wasn’t clear to see. The Robins dominated proceedings at Ashton Gate, but couldn’t force a way past a resolute Hornets backline.
City began the season in fine form and were around the play-off places going into September's international break. Of late, their form has significantly dipped, and after a nightmare run of just two wins in their last 14 in all competitions, they have slipped towards the bottom of the table and left some fans concerned about their Championship status next season. Nigel Pearson’s side are in 18th place, one point above the relegation zone.
The Croatian boss was impressed with what he saw from the Robins on the day, and when asked whether he saw enough for them to have a positive season and remain in the second tier, Bilic replied: “More than enough, apart from the main thing, no goals. But creating, that’s the hardest thing.”
City have lacked some creative spark of late, but arguably did fashion enough opportunities to merit all three points on Saturday, as Tommy Conway and Andi Weimann came the closest to finding a winning goal.
Bilic, though, was more focused on the performance and attitude of another one of City’s frontmen, Antoine Semenyo. The Ghanaian was introduced with 25 minutes to play, and the Hornets boss sang Semenyo’s praises after the match.
He explained: “The energy, how they closed us down, number 11 who came on, a couple of moves he made in the same action he pressed three of our players, left back, centre back, right centre back, baf, baf, baf. I almost clapped, you know I love it. I have to say, very good performance.”
Semenyo is one of several players who have struggled for form recently, and the Ghanaian is now on a goalless run of 13 matches for City.
However, he will be hoping to turn that form around soon after this month and will no doubt have a key part to play in the Robins’ search for a successful second half of the campaign.