Liam Manning delivers the verdict on Millwall’s defeat and Mark Sykes’ injury, saying Bristol City lacked bravery.

Liam Manning delivers the verdict on Millwall’s defeat and Mark Sykes’ injury, saying Bristol City lacked bravery.

Liam Manning, the head coach of Bristol City, lamented the Robins’ inability

to sustain the dominance they had established in the first half of the game.

After the break, Liam Manning felt his Bristol City team showed less bravery on

the ball and Shaun Hutchinson’s injury-time winner ended a close and uneventful match

at Ashton Gate.

After losing to Millwall, City ended a profitable Christmas and New Year period.

The game was mostly lackluster, and the way and timing of Hutchinson’s goal

made it feel even more painful.

Although Hutchinson and Jake Cooper posed a threat and the Robins had to be aware

of Millwall’s set-piece power, their incapacity to handle a crucial final corner proved to be the difference.

In the ninetieth minute, Hutchinson used his left boot to connect with a bouncing ball.

City had had multiple chances to clear their lines,

but their lack of effort with the ball was just as significant in determining the outcome of the points.

The visitors’ well-organized defense allowed the Robins to celebrate their fourth

straight clean sheet under Joe Edwards, but they were unable to

build on it and their performance after was a notable departure. Manning felt his team had shown some promise in the first half when

Jason Knight’s downward header was saved by Matija Sarkic.

“You can see the margins are tight in this division,” Manning remarked.

We lose 1-0 in a way that hurts and irritates you and feels ten times worse than if it had happened earlier in the game. There is nothing at all to the game.

As far as our performance was concerned, it was a match between two halves.

We had some control over the game in the first half, as far as I was concerned. After that, it was just a matter of whether we could add more to hurt them more, create more, and enter more dangerous areas—something we did a few times during the first half.

“And ultimately, we didn’t play our game in the second half.

We may have lowered ourselves a little too far, in my opinion.

I believe they got hold of second balls, but in the end, they lacked the bravery

to pass the ball into places they didn’t want us to, like behind them or wide to reach them.

We know we can do much better, which is what frustrates us.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is to end the game 0-0.

I believe that the tone and environment are what make it difficult to concede so late.

We weren’t quite at it, but we took a point and moved on. You go away and go, right?

After making several second-half substitutions in an attempt to draw some energy from his players,

Manning lost Mark Sykes just 22 minutes after the winger replaced Andi Weimann.

The Republic of Ireland international then immediately went down the tunnel for evaluation.

Although Sykes had “felt something,” the head coach acknowledged that he wasn’t positive

of the precise nature of the injury.

“It’s still so early; I haven’t spoken to him or the medical staff yet,” Manning continued.

“You must send him for scans to determine his current condition, but it appears that he has sustained an injury.”

Following the game, Millwall’s head coach Edwards acknowledged that the EFL schedule had likely made players tired, which had led to the game’s lackluster performance.

With their respective four-game winning streaks going into this game, both managers had been in a position where they were hesitant to make major changes but also conscious of giving their teams a break and bringing in some new blood.

Similar to Birmingham, Manning refused to “make excuses,” but he did acknowledge that a lot has been expected of a small group of players, particularly in defense, where George Tanner, Zak Vyner, Rob Dickie, and Cam Pring have played every minute of the previous five games without the help of senior replacements.

Consequently, City will now have two days off before getting back together at the High-Performance Centre on Thursday to get ready for their FA Cup third-round match against West Ham on Sunday.

“Because of our injuries, we haven’t been able to switch up certain players or positions,” Manning stated. “However, we have asked a few players to play four games in eleven days. We haven’t been able to make any changes to the back four, so they have played every minute of every game. We are placing a lot of demands on them, which leads to high levels of fatigue, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse.

I thought we ought to have approached the ball with more courage.

I thought we could hold each other more responsible for acquiring it and putting it to better use.

Since that was their fifth day in a row, we’re giving the boys the next two days off to make sure they again take advantage of the opportunity to rest, recover, and

spend time with their families—something they haven’t done at all because of the schedule. They will therefore have a block of two days to collect themselves before returning and getting ready to go.

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