Battling display against Blackpool pleases Bristol City manager Derek McInnes
RELIEVED Bristol City boss Derek McInnes was keen to accentuate the positives after watching his side gain their first point since October 2.
Rooted to the foot of the Championship following a run of seven straight defeats, the Robins held Blackpool to a 1-1 draw to stop the rot in a game of two penalties at Ashton Gate.
Tom Ince may have equalised Steven Davies’ 80th-minute spot-kick with one of his own in time added on, but McInnes was pleased to have avoided a club record eighth successive league defeat.
“There are far more positives than negatives to take from the game. We can take a lot from it,” said the manager, who was given a vote of confidence by City owner Steve Lansdown in the wake of last week’s 2-0 home defeat to Charlton.
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“It was not backs to the wall by any stretch of the imagination. Blackpool have players who can handle the ball well and put you under pressure, but we have worked extremely hard for this result and we were very close to taking all three points against a good side.
“Someone told me they thought my team lacked commitment last week. I did not agree with that. But the difference this time was that there was a real tenacity and determination about them. That was what was lacking last week.
“I thought the players were far more demanding of each other and that was apparent throughout.
“Overall, I thought it was a solid performance, the type that can win points in the Championship.
“We will keep the positives with us, recognise what was good about the performance and take it into next week. We have stopped the rot and it gives us something to build on.”
McInnes fielded new signings Matthew Bates and Neil Danns and recalled youngster Joe Bryan to the starting line-up, and the changes seemed to lift the Ashton Gate crowd.
City fans responded in positive fashion to an improved team performance and McInnes said: “I thought the reaction of both the crowd and the players when we scored the goal said everything.
“There was a real understanding and appreciation from the crowd and that should not go unmentioned. They were terrific and they stuck by the team. I asked for that and they were there for us. They appreciate the position we are in at the minute, but, together, if we can work hard, stick together and keep improving standards here, we will be okay.”
Although there was a large element of good fortune surrounding the penalty awarded City when Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks came together with Albert Adomah, McInnes criticised referee Gavin Ward after the Surrey official adjudged Bates had handled the ball.
England Under-21 star Ince converted the spot-kick to deny City a first victory since mid-September and McInnes afterwards voiced his frustration.
He said: “I’m always led to believe that the referee has to be almost sure in his decision when he makes it. For me, it is inconclusive and I have watched it a dozen times.
“Watching it again, it looks as though it has hit Matthew’s body first and, having looked at it again, it appears a tough one. The referee has to be so sure, but the linesman has given it and I still cannot be sure after watching all those times.”