Bristol City head coach Sean O'Driscoll makes no apology for "boring" methods
Bristol City head coach Sean O’Driscoll will make no apology for being boring if it means keeping his team in the npower Championship this season.
Since being appointed head coach in mid-January, the 55-year-old Midlander has inspired a recovery in fortunes that has seen the Robins take 17 points from a possible 33 to render a remarkable escape a distinct possibility.
Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough – City’s fifth win in six games at Ashton Gate – lifted them off the foot of the table and brought them level on points with fourth-from-bottom Wolves, whom they play next at Molineux in a contest that could have a profound effect on the battle to avoid the drop.
Asked to explain the reasons behind the recent upturn on City’s fortunes, O’Driscoll was characteristically deadpan, describing his methods as “boring.”
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He explained: “Your back-line dictates where you defend and everything else comes from that. It is not rocket science and it is not particularly difficult to do, but it is a little bit boring.
“These are the things we have to instil in players and it is a case of same old, same old, I’m afraid.
“We are focussing on the processes rather than the outcomes and, win, lose or draw, we are trying to make sure they do the things that will stand them in good stead. We are not talking about a relegation fight, we are talking about doing the right things.
“Fortunately, the players have bought into it and realised that, if they are going to get out of this mess we are in, trying to score more goals than the opposition is probably the wrong way to do it.
“Instead, we need to make sure we are hard to beat and understand that. If they understand it, then they have to exhibit the behaviours. We’ve told them to do it rather than just saying it and, to be fair, they have done that.
“Everything in football is about doing the basics right. Every player in this league wants to do well. We’ve told them ‘if you want to do well, these are the things you need to do’. We’ve been consistent in what we have said to them and have got performances out of them.”
Goals from substitute Albert Adomah and top-scorer Steven Davies stunned play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough, who were no match for a City team that is now gaining impressive momentum. The Robins are now unbeaten in four games and have kept three successive clean sheets to dramatically improve their chances of staying up.
Hard work and organisation were once again key factors for City, who hardly allowed play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough a shot at goal.
O’Driscoll added: “It is about defending as a team, staying compact, understanding what the opposition are trying to do and solving the problem.
“We are not a team that is going to dominate possession – that is not there yet.
But we are a team that is organised, looks as though it knows what it is doing and is comfortable within that.
“Win lose or draw, performance-wise, I can have no complaints. I’ve been pleased with every single performance since I walked through the door.”