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Mark Robins hails ‘breathtaking’ display even as Coventry settle for a point

Mark Robins salutes the Coventry fans at full-time (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Mark Robins salutes the Coventry fans at full-time (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Coventry boss Mark Robins branded his team “breathtaking” despite failing to make their dominance pay in a 1-1 away draw with Stoke.

Leading scorer Gyokeres rifled the visitors ahead in the 18th minute with an exquisite angled finish for his 18th goal in all competitions.

But Sam Clucas levelled for the hosts two minutes before the break with a fine strike, his first league goal since August enough to earn a point for the hosts.

“There’s work to be done there – and we know there’s work to be done – but the football we’ve played was breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking,” praised Robins.

“We were outstanding, especially in the first half. But we should have been out of sight, it’s been the story of our season.

“We’ve had so many opportunities kill the game off, which is the only disappointment for me.

“To go and do that to them on their home patch is absolutely outstanding. We’ve got to be happy, but not totally.

“To finish 12th in this division is a great achievement, especially because we’ve finished above a lot of very good teams.

“What we do in terms of recruitment in the summer is absolutely crucial.

“We feel like we’re not too far away from the play-offs and look like we’re not too far away from the play-offs, but we are.

“We know where we need to improve – and if we can improve we will do.

“But the players really need to take a good look at what they’ve achieved this season and be really proud.”

Robins’ side dominated for much of a one-sided contest at the bet365 Stadium – but Stoke, to their credit, dug deep for a battling point.

However, Stoke assistant boss Dean Holden admitted his side were second best, especially in the first half where the Sky Blues squandered a string of chances to have won easily.

“They [Coventry] were miles the better team, that’s the honest answer,” admitted Holden.

“They gave us so many problems in that first half an hour, we were really stretched and exposed.

“The gaps between our defence and up front were far too big.

“We were lucky to keep it 1-0 for as long as we did, but luckily we got a goal ourselves. We were fortunate to get the draw.

“Having said that, the gaffer went to work tactically and worked hard to get the distance between the units in the team that bit smaller.

“That gave us the chance to keep the ball more, because we gave the ball away far too much.

“There were just too many unforced errors in the first half, which played into their hands.

“It was a much more even second half. We didn’t create too much, but I thought it was a much more even game.”

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