Bristol City players full of praise for new boss Sean O'Driscoll
BRISTOL City's senior players have given new head coach Sean O'Driscoll's methods a resounding thumbs up after just one game.
Appointed as successor to the sacked Derek McInnes a week ago, O'Driscoll had just a few short days in which to lick his players into shape before sending them out to face Championship play-off hopefuls Leeds at Elland Road.
Although Ross McCormack scored the only goal of the game to give the Whites all three points, City's performance merited a share of the spoils and represented a considerable improvement on last week's dismal 4-0 home drubbing at the hands of Leicester.
O'Driscoll preached simplicity before kick-off, selected a well-balanced side, deployed players in their strongest positions and watched from the touchline as the Championship's bottom team gave Neill Warnock's men a run for their money in snow-bound Yorkshire.
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Veteran defender Louis Carey talked openly of the Sean O'Driscoll effect and insisted he and his team-mates are now playing with renewed purpose.
Recalling recent poor performances and defeats, Carey said: "What had been happening in the last few weeks has been unsettling for the players and the team as a whole.
"We have spoken about the structure a lot this season and we all want to be settled and comfortable in our positions. We've conceded far too many goals, especially from set-pieces and from being too open, and that has been disappointing.
"But the gaffer has come in and given the team a balance that has helped it as a whole. You could see that the lads were up for it and actually enjoyed the hard work and the discipline of keeping to the game-plan we set out to achieve.
"We had a game-plan to stop Leeds and it worked pretty well. We picked up most of the second balls at the back and further up the field and the gaffer's policy of having round pegs in round holes worked to a tee.
"Tom Heaton has only had a couple of shots and a few crosses to deal with and we kept them to a minimum of chances. We may have lost the game, but we can take a lot of encouragement from the performance."
Midfield playmaker Neil Kilkenny was another to benefit from a change of approach and the Australian was recalled to the starting line-up for the first time this year. He welcomed a return to a flat back four following the previous manager's experiment with a 3-5-2 system and felt City were closer to keeping a clean sheet than at almost any other time since the campaign began last August.
"There were not many chances in the game and we should probably have kept our first clean sheet," said Kilkenny. "We will just have to move on to the next game and try again.
"I thought the formation suited us and everyone knew their job, which was a good start. He (O'Driscoll) had spent the last few days drumming into us what it was he wanted and he tried to introduce quite a few things.
"But rather than bombard us with too much information, he has concentrated on the basics and getting us to do the simple things well. We were very well organised and benefited from that.
"You could see from our performance that everybody responded in the right way. It was not the result we wanted, but the performance was decent and that is a start.
"Of course, we would have liked to have created more chances, but we have to start from the back and work forward. Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks, we can start to rebuild the whole team and the structure the manager has put in place will help us win some games and stay in the division."