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INTERVIEW: Mark Robins on Middlesbrough win and goals for Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and Haji Wright

Read the thoughts of the City boss...

1 January 2024


INTERVIEW: Mark Robins on Middlesbrough win and goals for Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and Haji Wright

Read the thoughts of the City boss...

1 January 2024

Mark Robins praised his Coventry City side following an excellent 3-1 victory against Middlesbrough on New Years' Day.

Boro took the lead shortly after the 30-minute mark, but Tatsuhiro Sakamoto equalised almost instantly to level the game at the break.

A Haji Wright goal and a second from Sakamoto confirmed the points for the Sky Blues, who climbed up to eighth in the table at full time.

On the positive result to start the year:

“I think during the first half we struggled a little bit and they could have been out of sight.

"Brad [Collins] has made some brilliant saves. We defended where we needed to, got blocks in, but Brad has made some really good saves and kept us in it. We got pulled apart a little bit to start with, but tweaks at half time majorly affected the game.

“They have got talent up front. I think with Coburn getting the first goal, the weight of the pressure that tolled, the ball gets played into the box and he gets his head on it, six foot five, he is a big lad, and it goes into the back of the net.

"We had not really laid a glove on them at that point, so to get back into it with a brilliant finish from Tatsu [Sakamoto], a good move and a brilliant finish, he reacted first and buried it in the corner, it was a welcome relief in fairness.

"And then to get in at 1-1 was really important.”

On the much-improved first half performance:

“In the second half, we were much, much better and played a lot better - althought it must be said that they have both injuries and players missing due to the Asia Cup.

“I thought we were outstanding, there was some really good play. We moved the ball really well at times, got into some really dangerous areas and finished clinically.”

On his forwards and his second-half changes:

“Ellis Simms was unlucky but Haji Wright has followed it in and got his goal. I thought Haji was outstanding, Matty Godden when he came on was lively, he gave us that little energy boost and Kasey Palmer coming on.

"All the lads coming on, Joel Latibeaudiere, Jay Dasilva, they just gave us that boost.

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“But also, I think we controlled the end of the game really well. The last 15 minutes was a non-event because we kept the ball away from them and they could not get it off us. When they did, we defended well and closed the spaces off. We defended really well.”

On his strength from the bench:

“That is key - but the way that we are built, we got into good positions to build and then they like to play a high line anyway, although it was not as high as normal today. That was something, a number of factors I would have thought they taken into consideration the energy of us and the fact that they have a squad at the moment.

“We had got some changes there thankfully that could give us those and that helps when trying to manage the squad throughout this period. We have been able to do that because of the squad we have got. It has been good and I think it had tolled in the second half as well as the other tactical bits, as well as the quality we showed, the bravery we showed and the attacking intent.

“I thought we were good and, in the end, the squad have learnt from the other day, we really controlled the last fifteen minutes of the game. We really stopped them getting any rhythm that would get the crowd up for the last fifteen minutes or so. So I thought that was important as well.”

On the busy Christmas schedule just gone…

“Credit to the players because there is no easy feat that we just pulled off really, with those four games in those 12 days.

"It is so difficult, on the back of Southampton and away at Leeds before Christmas, a really difficult spell so we were disappointed the other day (against Swansea) with the concession of a goal and the timing of it and the nature of the goal.

"The reaction and the response from today has been perfect so, happy new year to everybody.”


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