Johnson looking forward to Benitez test

18 Aug

Lee Johnson


Bristol City lost their first match of the season against Norwich City at Carrow Road on Tuesday

Bristol City boss Lee Johnson is eager to measure himself against Newcastle’s Rafael Benitez on Saturday.

Benitez won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and more recently lifted the Europa League with Chelsea.

“It’s great for me, only four years into management and pitting my wits against a fantastic manager.

“I have not come across him in my travels so far. It’s exciting for me on a personal level to test myself against the best,” he told BBC Radio Bristol.

Seven days after facing the Magpies, City will play Aston Villa, who now have Roberto di Matteo in charge, four years after he led Chelsea to European club football’s ultimate prize.

“We’ve got two weekends facing Champions League winning managers – I won the FA Trophy as a player,” said Johnson.

Newcastle thrashed Reading 4-1 on Wednesday while the Robins lost their first match of the season at Norwich City 24 hours earlier.

Johnson is hopeful a club-record crowd in excess of 21,000 at a renovated Ashton Gate will help his side perform.

“City fans love a big game,” added the 36-year-old. “It promises to be a great occasion.

“If we can start on the front foot and whip our crowd up, it can really work as an advantage for us.”

Meanwhile, former Watford defender Joel Ekstrand continues to train with the Championship club.

“It’s not a quick decision,” said Johnson. “Joel has got the choice. From his point of view, it might be better for him to wait outside the window.”

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