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I'm really pleased for team player Jay, says City boss Cotterill

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 27, 2014

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas celebrates with team-mate Greg Cunningham

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Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill has spoken out in support of talismanic forward Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

Signed from Ipswich last summer, the former Arsenal man has experienced mixed fortunes and divides opinion among City fans.

While a majority adore him for the goals he scores and creates, others are more critical and question his work-rate and fitness.

But there is no doubting his natural ability and, when he is on form, Emmanuel-Thomas is arguably one of the most destructive forwards operating in League One.

Port Vale found that out to their cost on Tuesday as the 23-year-old Londoner tore their defence apart, scoring two goals and having a hand in another two as City romped to a 5-0 success, their biggest win in eight years.

Cotterill singled out man-of-the-match Emmanuel-Thomas for special praise after the game.

He said: "I'm pleased for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, because he is a team player. He really is. He does not always run around and we all have our moans and groans about that, including me. But I thought he was excellent playing in that role at the top point of the midfield and he caused Port Vale problems in there.

"He has scored plenty of goals for us this season, he is a very likeable lad and he has done well. I'd like to see him work a bit harder at times, but I don't know whether that is necessarily in his make-up."

Emmanuel-Thomas has now scored 21 goals in all competitions this season, his best return since launching his career at Arsenal, but his goals have not been spread evenly across the season and he came in for unfair criticism from some City fans when he went 13 games without netting earlier this year.

Cotterill added: "When Jay scores goals, he tends to get more than one in a game. He'll go and get a hat-trick or he'll score a brace. I don't think he is one of those strikers who scores his goals one at a time spread across more games. I'd rather he did that, because it would help us pick up more points along the way. But when he does score a goal, he gets the scent and finishes things off."

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