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Hecky: "We deserved the win for our character and spirit."

21 January 2017

Head Coach praised the Reds for securing a superb victory in the Yorkshire derby.

Reds Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom was delighted with the determination his side showed to secure a 3-2 victory against Yorkshire rivals Leeds United.

Tom Bradshaw, Ryan Kent and Conor Hourihane were all on target for the Reds against the Whites as they moved to within four points of the play-off places.

Hecky said that there was very little he could criticise his side for following this evening's performance.

He said: "If I'm honest, the only thing that concerned me today was them on the counter and their set plays. I thought we dealt with that a lot better in the second half.

"We deserved the win for our character and spirit and to come back from behind really shows it."

In the week, the Head Coach had called on the players to continue to perform at the same intensity and highlighted that as one of the main reasons they took the three points.

"We demand a lot and the players love it, they love performing that way. It's good to watch, high intensity and high energy and when we play like that, a team is going to have to play well to beat us.

"We talk about hard work, organisation and discipline and that's our work on the training field. We've got good players who are good on the ball with good quality.

"That's what's won us the game today," he added.

Heckingbottom made a point of praising both sets of fans for making the game such a wonderful spectacle and a great atmosphere.

The result moves them to within four points of the play-offs and wants them to carry on their fantastic support.

He said: "All we can do is worry about how we want to play, try and do it and execute it, the fans come, they have to play their part and they did today, both sets of fans.

"It makes for a great atmosphere, the fact it was a live game as well means everyone has seen a good advert for Championship football.

"The thing we have got and what I work hard on is the relationship with the players, they can come to me and say whatever they want, that's in my office.

"When we train together and play together, it's the team first ad that's what has got us to where we are."

Everton loanee Gethin Jones made his Reds debut at left-back and 'Hecky' was thrilled with the impact the youngster had.

He hopes this will act as a catalyst to spur the youngster on for the remainder of the season.

The Head Coach remarked: "I thought he did excellent, I'm really, really pleased with him. We brought him in predominantly as a right-back but we know he has got that cover.

"With Aidy coming back from injury and playing 120 minutes on Tuesday night, we have to be very organised in our thinking because at the minute, we only have two full-backs.

"We have three with Gethin and we have to keep him fit and that's just decision you have to make when you carry a small squad.

"You think someone can deal with something and he has shown tonight that he can and there is a lot more to come from him."

The decision to award a penalty is something that the Head Coach felt changed the game but given the hosts went on to win the match, the event was merely academic.

"It changed the game, it was probably good for the cameras but not good for us on the side and I think the longer it was 3-1, the more we'd have posed a threat on the counter and been likely to score more goals.

"When it was 3-2, it was about being organised and disciplined behind the ball and then the counter chases were few and far between," he added.

Ryan Kent scored only his second goal for the Reds and 'Hecky' was impressed with the way in which the winger dispatched the ball and the impact he has had on the side this season.

"He did great for the goal, we work hard with our players and we felt that Ryan needed taking out of the firing line a little but in the last few weeks because he's come here and played virtually every game.

"It's a big ask for young players week-in week-out in the Championship, mentally, physically and whilst we're trying to teach them what we want them to do.

"He's responded in  fantastic way and we're really pleased," added Heckingbottom.

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