Bristol City boss eyes European rise

3 Aug

Lee Johnson oversees Bristol City training

Lee Johnson has won seven of his 16 games in charge of Bristol City so far

Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson says he wants the club to play Europa League football within five years.

The former Barnsley boss, 35, took over at Ashton Gate in February and steered City to 18th in the Championship table.

The Robins have not played in the top flight since 1980 and were playing in the third tier as recently as 2015.

When asked where he sees the club in five year’s time, Johnson said: “I’m going to stick my neck on the line a little bit and say Europa League.”

Owned by local businessman Steve Lansdown – reportedly worth 2.3bn US dollars (£1.73bn) – the Robins won promotion to the Championship in 2015 before sacking manager Steve Cotterill in January, with the Robins 22nd in the table.

Lansdown, who also has stakes in local clubs from other sports, including Bristol’s recently-promoted Premiership Rugby side, has previously said he wants to turn the city into a sporting force.

Johnson said City aim to “fast-track” efforts to emulate Swansea and Stoke, who have both featured in Europe’s second-tier competition in recent years.

“We’ll give it a right good go, that’s for sure,” said Johnson at Tuesday’s BBC Radio Bristol & BBC Somerset sports forum.

“I believe it as well. I believe it is putting pressure on everybody at the club and we can deal with that pressure.

“Yes it will be very, very difficult, but why not? We’re ready to go. Bristol is a fantastic city.

“I love the city, and the club, to bits. It’s an amazing new stadium that will only get better as well.”

Johnson’s side begin their 2016-17 campaign at home to newly-promoted Wigan Athletic on Saturday, 6 August.


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