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Birmingham boss Monk hails ‘magnificent’ win

Birmingham boss Garry Monk described his team’s performance as “magnificent” after an impressive win at Ashton Gate.

The manager was all smiles after seeing goals from Connor Mahoney and Michael Morrison either side of half time take his side to the fringe of the Championship play-off race.

With a possible points deduction hanging over his club, Monk was not keen to discuss hopes of a top six finish.

He preferred to dwell on the progress made this season and said: “We can’t control what goes on off the pitch and our season has been all about giving the fans performances they can take pride in,” he said.

“That is happening more and more and we will just see where it takes us. I thought we were magnificent tonight.

“To play like that against the form team of the Championship was fantastic. I know Bristol lost on Saturday, but they have been playing really well.

“We restricted them to very few chances and created better ones ourselves. Che Adams has hit the bar with a great effort in the first half and the ball must have been inches from crossing the line.

“Technology said it wasn’t a goal, but it looked very close from where I was. I’m pleased with the way we stood strong when they went more direct and all credit to my players for a really excellent all-round display.”

Birmingham went ahead in the 42nd minute when Mahoney cut in from the left and his low right-footed shot was deflected past Niki Maenpaa.

Two minutes after the break Monk’s side doubled their advantage, centre-back Morrison rising unmarked to nod home a Mahoney free kick.

Famara Diedhiou put Bristol back in the game in the 66th minute with a simple tap-in from Matty Taylor’s header across goal.

But, despite late pressure, the hosts could not summon an equaliser. Head coach Lee Johnson watched from the stands because of a touchline ban.

He said: “It was a tough watch from up there. Birmingham came with a game plan and we were not good enough tactically or in terms of individual performances to break it down.

“The first half was really disappointing and we were guilty of poor defending in allowing their goal.

“The second one after the break came because we had a player blocked off at a free-kick. We knew they did that and had warned the referee and fourth official.

“In the light of that, it was disappointing that they missed the offence. It was a key moment because I thought our substitutes had a positive effect and we were much better in the second half.

“We are where we are and I felt one or two players looked leggy after the game at Norwich on Saturday. That was one of the reasons I made a couple of changes at half time.”