Sun, Mar

Coventry City coach Dennis Lawrence, who is taking charge of his side today, during the Sky Bet Championship match at Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry. Picture date: Saturday March 12, 2022. (Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images)

Stand-in boss Dennis Lawrence hailed absent manager Mark Robins and his assistant Adi Viveash for masterminding Coventry City’s emphatic victory over Sheffield United.

The Sky Blues battled back from behind in another memorable performance at the CBS Arena where they pulled level in the first half before putting the Blades to the sword with three more goals in an outstanding and dominant second-half display.

That was on a day when the players were without their manager and assistant who both tested positive for Covid in the morning, leaving first team coach Lawrence in charge of the team, assisted by Under-23s coach Luke Tisdale.

“First and foremost, the most important thing is that the Gaffer and Adi have a good recovery because we know how this Covid thing works and affects people in different ways,” said the former Trinidad and Tobago boss, speaking after the sensational 4-1 thrashing courtesy of goals from Viktor Gyokeres, Matty Godden and two from Callum O’Hare.

“The majority of the preparation was done in the build up to the game and so the manager and Adi did the prep with myself so it was more or less down to me to just reinforce everything we wanted to do today.

“I spoke to the manager by phone this morning and we all knew what the game plan was, so just about reinforcements and the manager letting me know he was there and supporting me, telling me to be brave and just enjoy the occasion.

“During the game he communicated with our match analyst by phone who then passed on the messages to me, and the same thing happened with Adi, so there was a lot of information coming and that was very good for myself because it was just reinforcements and positivity, making sure we kept doing the good things we were doing.”

He added: “I rang them both afterwards because I think it’s important because you have to congratulate them for the work that they did before the game.

“They congratulated me as we do because we work very closely as a staff and ultimately we all did it together, from the medical team, the staff, the players who were phenomenal today, and it was good for the fans to be here and get behind the team today. That’s what we need to get through these periods.”

Sheffield United had only conceded four goals in their last 11 games going into the game, only to concede four in one against the Sky Blues.

“That’s football for you,” said the 47-year-old Lawrence.

“I said to the boys before the game that if they put in the performance then hopefully the result will follow, and today to a man, I thought they put in a performance.

“We were disappointed to go a goal down  but we will look at it and do better in how we set up and deal with it, but we showed that strength of character to come back and win against a very good team who I think will be there or thereabouts when it’s time for the play-offs.

“The players were outstanding.”

City survived an indirect free-kick from about seven yards out before the break which Lawrence felt was a turning point in the game.

“We had to deal with the indirect free-kick where, looking back at it now I can see why the referee gave it,” he said.

“But we got in at half time and we knew were were in a good position. All of a sudden it gave us a second wind and we came out in the second half and performed the way we did.”

Asked whether he knows if he will be in charge again against Hull on Wednesday night, Lawrence said: “What I would like to do today is enjoy some Nandos and think about Wednesday when it comes.

“But I am sure there will be communication with the manager over the next few days and we’ll assess it and prepare for the game together.”

SOURCE: Coventry Telegraph