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Interviews

McCann’s Bristol City Preview

10 December 2021

Grant McCann believes scoring the first goal and capitalising on spells of dominance in games have been key to the team’s resurgence.

The Tigers are unbeaten in five heading into Saturday’s clash against Bristol City, winning four in a row before drawing at Reading.

McCann’s side came from behind against the Royals but scored the opening goal in each of the four victories, having only netted first once before then.

And the boss says taking opportunities when on top has been crucial.

“I feel as if that first goal in games, that we’ve scored to win games, has really helped us,” said the 41-year-old.

“In this division, you get big moments in games and you have to take them. League One is a tough league – don’t get me wrong – but you can miss a chance and get another chance 10 minutes later.

“In this league, they don’t come along very often. When you get them, you have to take them in your spell. I feel as if over the last five games, we’ve shown that.

“You think back to the West Brom game, where we got beat 1-0, we had three very big chances at the end of that game to get a point out of it.

“We knew we were getting the opportunities, we weren’t taking them. The change now is we’ve taken the opportunities in those spells.

“I spoke to Gary Rowett after the Millwall game and his first words to me were, ‘You have to score in your spell in this division’.

“That’s this division for you – you have to score when you get your spell and I think we’ve shown that in the five games.

“We maybe didn’t get the goal at Reading in the spell we got, but we got it when our backs were against the wall a little bit in the second half.”

Grant McCann Reading A December 2021 3.jpg

Bristol City, managed by ex-Tigers boss Nigel Pearson, are four points and two places better off than the Tigers, having beaten Derby County 1-0 in their last match.

The Robins have accrued 10 points from 12 at home but lost their last four away, and McCann says they are a side that can mix it up.

“They’ve picked up at home – they went through a barren run where they were struggling to win at home and all of a sudden, they’ve started to win nearly every game at home,” said McCann.

“They had a good result at Derby – who are fighting for their lives and giving everything they can – and they had to dig deep to get that result. A bit of quality (from Alex Scott) gets them the goal – it was a great finish off the left foot.

“Like every game in the Championship, there are going to be times when you’re under the cosh and you’ve got to stay strong, and they showed that.

“They’re another team with a lot of experience in and around their team. If you go right through the middle of their team, they’ve got people like (Tomas) Kalas, (Chris) Martin, (Han-Noah) Massengo – who they brought in for quite a lot of money – Nahki Wells sat on their bench.

“They can mix it up, they can play short, they can play long. They’ve got the focal point of Martin and they’ve got good footballers in the middle of the pitch.

“Every team in the Championship have got real quality and Bristol City are the same. It’s going to be another tough game for us.”


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