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Lee Johnson: We Must Impose Ourselves on Everton

25 August 2015

Lee Johnson addressed the press ahead of his side's mouth-watering League Cup tie against Everton at Oakwell.

After Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Bradford City, Johnson was happy to report that there are no new injury concerns ahead of the match, with the only definite absentee being Ryan Williams who is still out with a slight groin tear.

Ben Pearson and Joe Rothwell have been given permission by parent club Manchester United to play in the match, but Johnson confirmed he was still waiting to hear from Arsenal on whether Dan Crowley would be allowed to take part. 

Johnson wanted his players to remain focused but also show everyone the talent they have.  “The lads are hungry and committed," he said.

"They have shown that in their opening five games and we take a lot of enthusiasm into tomorrow’s match. The key message is to impose yourself on the game and demand more from yourself and your team-mates, but most importantly play with freedom and someone might just be a hero.”

Johnson was keen to state the influence of the fans on occasions such as these and he says there has been a buzz around the town. “We have to use the energy of the crowd to put their good players under pressure," he added. "The fans want to see us go at all of them and show how we can impose our game on Everton whilst being concentrated enough to deal with their quality.” 

Moving on to the opposition, Johnson praised opposing manager Roberto Martinez by saying “He’s someone I have got a lot of respect for. He’s still a young manager and look at all he’s achieved. It will be great for me to ‘pit my wits’ against someone of that quality and I am looking forward to a good chat after the match.”

When pushed on whether the Reds can cause a famous cup shock, Johnson stated “Sometimes Premier League sides don’t want to look like they are working hard against a League One side so that could be our opportunity to exploit them. If they think they can come here and not work hard we will expose that.”

A final word from Johnson was to his squad and the whole of Barnsley. “We have to come out and be bold and brave, hopefully that will stand us in good stead to get a result and enhance the reputation of the players, and the club as a whole! There has been many a shock in cup football and I hope we can pull one off.”

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