Nigel Pearson has explained the difference in his Bristol City side from last season following a positive start to the season.
The Robins are on a good run of form and find themselves in fourth in the Championship with eight games played so far.
After suffering back to back defeats in their opening two matches, City have gone on an eight game unbeaten run of which six were wins.
Defensive frailties continue to creep in but they have been able to record three consecutive home clean sheets which is a boost to the defence, whilst the attack have continued to be prolific.
The 59-year-old believes the team isn’t as ‘soft’ as they used to be and that is evident from the few skirmishes the team have been involved in when reacting to a flashpoint of a match.
City have found a way to win at the moment and are riding a wave of success but they are by no means the finished article, admits the manager.
In his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Norwich, Pearson explained his recent comments about the team being more efficient.
He said: “Gamesmanship is a bit involved in there, some people might not like that but tough, it’s part of the game. Gamesmanship’s important within reason. I also think we’re not as soft as we used to be.
“You will have seen a few events this year where players have reacted with some emotion and controlled aggression which is important too. It’s not about endorsing poor behaviour but it’s important we are a team that looks after itself on the pitch.
“I think that’s something which is better, more evident. It might not be everyone’s idea of good sportsmanship but we’re here to win and learn how to win in different ways. Sometimes you have to win games ugly, knowing we have the ability to play.
“We’re looking for perfection that is always going to be allusive but if I ever sit here and I’m totally satisfied, I may as just get up and go home because that’s the time to finish.”
“We are always a work in progress and will remain that all the way through the season.”
The arrival of four new players has helped contribute towards a change in psyche in the team with new leadership figures.
Kal Naismith, who joined from play-off semi-finalists Luton Town has cemented himself in the back three and is a leadership figure to Rob Atkinson and Zak Vyner.
The experiences of the one-and-a-half seasons have helped shape and develop the players who have been before them however, where they have had to encounter some difficult experiences.
Last season, City experienced losing games from winning positions and developed a habit of conceding goals late on, which was a contributing factor to their lowly finish.
Erasing the the first two games from the mind where old habits died hard, City now look a more efficient machine which are able to manage games better.
Drawing on the frustrating experiences of last season, Nigel Pearson has admitted he hasn’t had as much as an influence in the change of culture around the club and instead it has been player led.
“I haven’t changed anything,” he admitted. The dynamics in the squad have changed. The development of players individually and collectively have continued. Sometimes one of the harder things to do is to let things evolve in a natural way.
Pearson added: “I think everybody seems to have an opinion. It’s always about ruling with a firm grip, it’s not about that. It’s one of the most difficult things to allow is a natural evolution of what the mood is and what the internal dynamics of the workplace is.
“It’s important to allow it to happen but also with the understanding for intervention, sometimes it will be from players and sometimes from staff.”