Mark Robins admitted that it “hurt” as Coventry City suffered their first league defeat at St Andrew’s in almost 12 months.
The Sky Blues came from a goal down to draw level at the break against a slick and efficient Bournemouth side who picked them off in the second half with two more goals to secure the 3-1 victory.
City were out-played for large periods of the game and their task was made all the more difficult when star midfielder Gus Hamer was sent off for raising his hand to an opponent’s face.
Here’s every word from the manager:
“Against a team that has just come down from the Premier League, it was an eye opener for everybody.
“You know you’re going to come up against players and teams in this league that are better and tonight was one of those nights.
“It’s a good game to have had and use to learn from, we’ve got plenty of time to pick the bones out of it, but these are teams you’re going to come up against at this level and if you’re not bang on it then you’re going to be bang in trouble and that’s eventually what happened.
“We went in at 1-1 at half-time and we were a bit fortunate, we cleared a couple off the line and if you’re playing into their press then it becomes difficult, you have to play outside it or through it or over it and they’re quick, technically gifted players that are quick with the ball, quick in their brains and quick with their feet. And they made it difficult.”
Full transcript here
‘Teaching him a lesson’
Former Coventry City winger Gary McSheffrey has delivered a blunt assessment of new Coventry City man Gustavo Hamer.
The midfielder arrived at Coventry from Dutch side PEC Zwolle earlier the summer and has started all four of the club’s Championship games so far this season.
Hamer earned praise for his performances in the first three games, where he created more chances than any other player in the league, and providing an assist in the 3-2 win over Queens Park Rangers.
However, the 23-year-old endured a more difficult evening when the Sky Blues took on Bournemouth on Friday night.
Coventry were on the end of 3-1 loss against the Cherries, with Hamer being shown red in the second half of the game for an off-the-ball incident.
The midfielder was shown raising his hand to the face Bournemouth defender Steve Cook in the aftermath of a challenge.
Hamer will now face a three-game ban, meaning he will miss the Championship games against Brentford, Swansea City and Blackburn Rovers.
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And his performance didn’t impress the onwatching McSheffrey, who took to social media to deliver his verdict.
“Heard good things about Hamer,” he wrote. “First chance to see him tonight, on this performance doesn’t look like he fancies it out of possession, not tracking runners, pulling out of tackles, won’t get away with that at championship level.
“Gosling is teaching him a lesson.”
McSheffrey played a total of 268 times in a Coventry shirt, scoring 64 goals and providing a further 21 assists over two stints with the club.
‘Welcome to the Championship’
Coventry City suffered their first league defeat at St Andrew’s in almost a year against an impressive Bournemouth side who fired themselves to top of the Championship.
The Sky Blues came from behind with Matty Godden pulling Mark Robins’s men level going into the break, but the fallen Premier League side showed their quality in the second half when they took a 3-1 lead by the hour mark.
And things went from bad to worse 22 minutes from time when Gus Hamer was shown a straight red card for putting his hands in an opponent’s face following a cynical foul on Fankaty Dabo.
Here are some of the big talking points from Friday night’s game:
Welcome to the upper echelons of the Championship
The Sky Blues adapted to their new lofty second tier environment extremely well in their opening three league games.
But coming up against a fallen Premier League team still packed with multi-million talent proved to be a step too far for Mark Robins’s men on a night when the two sides looked the two divisions apart that they were just a few short months ago.
The Cherries were a yard ahead in body and mind as their class showed from the first whistle, getting at City with wave after wave of attack until they had got the opening goal that their early dominance threatened to produce.
And although Matty Godden got the ‘home’ side back on level terms from the penalty spot before the break, the visitors soon went up a gear or two in the second half to get the job done.
Jason Tindall’s side looked a cut above anything City have faced so far and served as a reminder of disparity between the top end teams and the bulk of the division with ambitions to reach those dizzy heights.
At 3-1 down by the hour mark, it was always going to be an up hill battle to get back in the game.
But pressing the self destruct button with Gus Hamer ’s straight red card ensured this was a mountain they simply weren’t going to climb.
And while City’s star midfielder was entirely to blame – according to the letter of the law – in raising his hand to an opponent, it was the softest of offences.
Certainly, compared to the cynical challenge from behind on Fankaty Dabo that sparked his angry reaction, Hamer’s hand to Steve Cook’s cheek was worthy of a yellow card at worst.
The fact that he now faces a three match ban is a significant blow, particularly given City’s run when they come up against Brentford, Swansea and Blackburn Rovers.
Robins was pretty honest and fairly philosophical in his post match assessment of Friday night’s 3-1 St Andrew’s defeat.
“Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up,” he said, recognising the gulf in quality between the sets of players.
But always one to look for the positives, the City boss is determined to use the experience as one from which to learn and improve upon.
And one of the biggest things he’s keen for his players to avoid is their confidence taking a hit as a result of such a defeat.
They have not looked out of place in their first three games in the division against Bristol City, QPR and Barnsley, so one bad night against a side that looks more than capable of bouncing straight back to the top flight should not put them off their stride as they look to gain a foothold back in the second tier.
Pair step back in
The City boss took the opportunity to introduce Michael Rose and Sam McCallum to proceedings on Friday night – the centre-back going on at half-time for Leo Ostigard before the manager feared he’d get sent off, and the wing-back as a late replacement for Ryan Giles.
Robins has stated publicly that Rose is his “best” defender and is a big admirer of McCallum, and it will be interesting to see how the competition between the friendly rivals plays out in the coming weeks and months.
But this is the beauty of having a strong squad with enough depth to make changes and potentially strengthen the side.