Bristol City's Championship survival a 'total relief' for boss Derek McInnes
DEREK McInnes spoke of his "total relief" after guiding Bristol City to Championship safety.
City secured their second-tier status by beating Barnsley 2-0 at Ashton Gate on Saturday, a result that sentenced Portsmouth and Coventry to relegation alongside Doncater Rovers.
But, despite completing the job he came in to do when appointed manager in October, the Scot admitted he felt a degree of satisfaction, but no real joy, in having kept the club up.
And having staved off the threat of relegation with one game of the campaign remaining, McInnes is determined not to experience a repeat scenario next season.
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"It's a feeling of total relief. You see what the club means to so many people and you feel satisfaction that you have managed to get the job done for them," said McInnes, who joined his players on a lap of Ashton Gate after the final whistle to thank the fans for their support.
"But while there is satisfaction, there is no real joy and we have to make sure we do not get involved in this situation again. It has not been enjoyable, it has been tough and it has been challenging. I cannot pretend otherwise."
Despite waging a season-long fight against relegation, McInnes insisted his players deserve credit for digging themselves out of a difficult situation.
He said: "I think the players deserve huge credit for the way they have galvanised themselves and worked hard to get an outcome that looked unlikely a few weeks ago.
"They felt a responsibility and took that responsibility on to themselves. Players, staff and supporters have all pulled together to get us over the line and we have done it by ourselves, without any help from others, which is important.
"We have taken care of our own business and it is sweeter that way.
"Let's face it, we have been facing a relegation battle since the first kick of the ball and it has been a tough season.
"It has been a strain on the players, the supporters and on the management since we came in.
"But I know what this club is capable of and I do not want to be involved in a relegation battle again. Hopefully, the next time we do a lap of honour around the pitch it will be because we have had a successful season and not just avoided relegation."
City complete their campaign against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.