Bristol City’s Lee Johnson vowed to be positive in Monday’s Championship relegation showdown at Blackburn after seeing his side climb to 18th place with a win over Queens Park Rangers.
First half goals from Marlon Pack and Jamie Paterson eased fears of the drop and left Rangers one of several clubs looking over their shoulders as the battle for survival reaches its climax.
A stoppage time consolation goal from Idrissa Sylla did nothing to improve QPR boss Ian Holloway’s mood after the game.
But Johnson was all smiles as he pledged: “We will go to Blackburn to win the game, even though a draw would be a decent outcome for us.
“I am not saying we will go gung-ho, but I know my players and I have a good feeling about where they are at the moment.
“We need to take our home form into an away match, but the attitude today was brilliant and the lads are buzzing.
“They won the battles and that made us deserving winners. Frank Fielding has made one really timely save, but I thought the defenders in front of him were fantastic.
“Nothing is settled yet and Monday’s game will be massive. But a lot of other clubs are now involved in the fight to stay up.”
City took a 14th minute lead when Pack latched onto a Matt Taylor knock-down and lashed in a right-footed volley from 15 yards.
The hosts were the better side from the outset and doubled their advantage five minutes before the interval, Jamie Paterson racing onto a Taylor pass to shoot past the advancing Alex Smithies.
Although Rangers improved after the break, it wasn’t until the final minute of injury time that substitute Sylla shot home from a cross by fellow replacement Conor Washington.
Holloway, who had to endure constant baiting from City fans as an ex Bristol Rovers player and manager, was inconsolable after the game.
“How do you defend the indefensible,” he said. “I like my teams to represent my character and I have never gone down with a whimper in my life.
“City didn’t even have to work for their goals. And some of the things I saw from my team in the second half were inexplicable.
“When you are 2-0 down and win a free kick surely you race to take it as quickly as possible.
“Twice we allowed City players to pick the ball up and walk backwards with it. One got booked and the other didn’t, but where was the fight from my players?
“We face Sheffield Wednesday on Monday and need another win to be safe. But we have been trying to get it for four games now."