Bristol City boss issues message of hope to the fans
BRISTOL City manager Derek McInnes today came out fighting after watching his team slide back into relegation trouble.
Beaten 2-1 by Hull in front of the Sky TV cameras at Ashton Gate on Saturday evening, the Robins dropped into the bottom three for the first time this season.
And a depressing sequence of four straight defeats raises the spectre of another campaign spent fighting for npower Championship survival.
But McInnes insists his squad is stronger than the one that finished fifth from bottom last term and the Scot reckons City will overcome their present problems to finish in a higher position than last time.
He said: "We are where everybody thought we would be, but we don't want to be there and we certainly did not envisage it. I don't envisage us being anywhere near there come the end of the season.
"I firmly believe in this group of players and I believe that, if they keep working hard, there are still plenty of points to be gained.
"This is a situation we have been in before and, when the chips were down, we came up trumps. I'd like to think we can do it with a bit more style this time and with a bit more to spare. There is plenty of the season left and, as difficult as this run is, we have to keep a belief and a level of support for the players. They will get that from me and the staff.
"I can stand here and say I firmly believe we will make a better fist of things and our final league position will be better than it was last season.
"It is a bit more difficult to believe that at the minute, because people are looking for instant improvement. But we will have that improvement because we have far too many good players here."
City were booed of the pitch by a section of the Ashton Gate crowd on Saturday and McInnes is urging everyone connected with the club to demonstrate a united front in the weeks ahead.
He said: "What we need now is that real level of support from everyone, a level that we've had in the past.
"I'm not just talking about supporters, but also the staff. If everyone gets behind the players, we will come through it together."
City now have the worst defensive record in the Championship after conceding 28 times in 13 games and McInnes admitted: "There is no getting away from it.
"I read the papers like everybody else and I look at the league table. As much as we are scoring goals, the biggest drain on confidence is losing goals.
"We need to try and patch the back four up to try and help that situation, but we are not kidding ourselves. It is everybody involved in that, not just the back four."
Scoring goals has not been a problem for City, who have found the back of the net 24 times already this season.
McInnes reasoned: "Unlike last season, we have a real capacity to score goals and we will keep that with us."