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He’s hungry for goals – Mark Robins hails Coventry match-winner Viktor Gyokeres

Mark Robins saw his Coventry side beat Middlesbrough (Barrington Coombs/PA).
Mark Robins saw his Coventry side beat Middlesbrough (Barrington Coombs/PA).

Mark Robins heaped praise on Viktor Gyokeres after the Swedish striker earned Coventry their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

The 24-year-old, the subject of interest from Chris Wilder’s side over the summer, scored his third goal of the season in the first half.

Robins also claimed last season’s top-scorer Gyokeres should have won a penalty from Anfernee Dijksteel.

“I think that’s as good a performance as he’s put in,” said Robins.

“He’s been away with Sweden and he’s played a game and 30 minutes and he’s come back in a really good headspace, really sharp and you could see that today. He’s hungry for goals and that could only benefit him and the team.

“It looked like a penalty all day long and they were talking about handball as well.

“It looked like he dragged him down and that was his intent, but that was their intent all day. You’ve got to get round him and got to get him down because he destroyed them up at the Riverside last season.”

Following a stop-start to the season that meant six of Coventry’s first seven games were away from home, Robins said Saturday’s win felt like “lift-off”, even though his side remain bottom of the table.

Robins said: “I feel for the players and the supporters because we’ve been in a limbo state – six games away from home and this is our first Saturday game, it’s incredible. But the big thing for me is the reaction from the players.

“It’s a really hard-fought but really well-deserved win and much needed. The crowd were phenomenal and I thank them for that because it’s really much needed. Psychologically you can’t underestimate how difficult it’s been for the players and for everybody.

“I think we started really brightly, we could have got two or three goals in the first half and should have done because they were really good chances.

“The goal that ended up winning the game deserved to because it was an outstanding move, an outstanding, powerful run and finish, but a brilliant ball from Fankaty (Dabo).

“Everybody was outstanding, but Kasey (Palmer) shone, he got hold of the ball for us and was involved in everything that was good, should have had a goal and then put the game to bed.”

Chris Wilder was left baffled by the goal his side conceded as Boro dropped into the bottom three on goal difference.

Dabo’s ball down the line picked out Gyokeres, who drove towards goal and slotted a finish under returning goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

“The concession of the goal is yet again small details,” said Wilder. “We have three throws on the left-hand side and we give every throw away, then from the third one they counter, one ball, and we talk about the threat of (Matt) Godden and most importantly Gyokeres running down the side.

“One of my centre-halves, who’s the quickest centre-half in the club, tries to play offside and you’re just scratching your head.

“The level of attention and detail that goes into analysis, we’ve watched Coventry all last year and we’ve watched them this year, their main threat is Gyokeres and I thought he was the best player on the pitch.

“What you can’t do is step up on the halfway line because he’ll punish you – he punished us and we’re chasing a little bit.”