Lee Johnson watched his side beat Hearts 2-0 at Tynecastle this afternoon. Here’s his post-match reaction…
"We started really well, especially with the intensity of the press because that isn't something we've really worked on yet. That was just the senior players stepping up and setting that. On the ball we were comfortable and created some good chances, scored two good goals. There's a lot of positives from today and the week as a whole. Hearts are probably ten days ahead of us in their pre-season and fitness, so I was happy to see some fluid movements.”
"It was a major contribution from Callum and we will have that quick passing this year, no doubt about that. Embleton, McGeady, Pritchard, we have the players with the ability to do that. It's so important our forwards are ready for that this season. Ross did it for the penalty and I expect fans to see a lot of that from us this year. It's so hard to defend against that, when players have the ability to disguise passes and play through the lines. You see the first goal, two quick passes and you're in."
"Luke O'Nien has been out, he popped his shoulder. It wasn't the same in terms of the timescale from the last one, which led to quite a lengthy absence. This time the ligaments are fine, not too stretched. It's a long-term worry because you don't like to see it, but at the same time I expect him to probably be back for the Harrogate game. With Bailey it was just precautionary, he felt some tightness in his groin. Josh Hawkes has been out due to COVID-19."
"At the moment the state of play is just that there is no agreement in place. I think there's a will there at both ends, but at the same time there is a bit of a gap. He's not quite on the open market because we are able to get compensation, but effectively he is open to offers. It's been a bit of a sticky one either way, but we are hopeful of a resolution either way relatively shortly. Denver is still injured after his hamstring operation, but he's getting treatment with us so he is still in our building, if you like. I'm sure it's frustrating for him at times, but all you can do at these times as a coach or a technical director or a club, is be open and honest with a player. We don't always agree, but at the same time I think both parties respect the openness and the honesty. We need another left-back anyway, no matter what happens with Denver - you always want two for every position.”