Bristol City manager ‘wary’ of complacency after stellar start to Championship season

Despite Bristol City’s positive start, Nigel Pearson says the club is still a ‘long way’ off the Premier League.

Nigel Pearson insists he isn’t getting carried away with Bristol City’s positive start to their 2022/23 campaign, following an eight-game unbeaten run.

The Robins are fourth in the Championship table with 14 points, just one win off league leaders Sheffield United.

Pearson’s side are also joint top scorers in their domestic league along with the Blades, with 16 goals so far. However, the 59-year-old is keen to manage the expectations of the Robins faithful.

“I’m wary of people getting ahead of themselves and people getting a little carried away,” he said.

In another strong display against Blackburn Rovers last weekend, a Nahki Wells brace helped City to a 3-2 victory. Breakthrough youngster Tommy Conway netted the other.

“It’s a good result, we’ve been playing pretty well all season and the challenge is now to remain at a high standard of performance and with that hopefully will come more good results,” he added.

“It was a pleasing performance but there’s still work to do, there’s always work to do.”

Both the staff and players were bullish about competing at the top end of the table before a ball was kicked this season, and their results thus far have given them some early momentum.

Although, with league 38 matches still to play, nobody at the club is getting carried away.

“I don’t know where we are in the overall development of where we’re trying to get to. We’re trying to get to the Premier League but we’re a long way off that at the moment,” the manager said.

“We’re doing ok, maybe because we’ve played some good football too, it gives people optimism.”

Pearson also admitted that rather than feeling upbeat and hopeful about their strong form, it is more probable that he will take a pessimistic view.

“I’m more likely to start being a bit suspicious of the situation when everybody all of a sudden thinks it’s going well,” he explained.

“Because there’s always something that crops up which is going to be the next potential hurdle to get over or the problem or whatever it is.”

City have been faced with several challenges already this season; star man Antoine Semenyo is yet to start a match as he returns gradually from a shin injury, while Tomas Kalas remains side-lined following an operation on a knee problem.

Moreover, the club announced centre-back Nathan Baker’s retirement from football last week, after a lengthy spell out of the squad following two concussions last season.

Pearson continued: “It only takes a bad result here and there to shift how people think about it or perceive it, so I don’t get too down when everybody’s moaning and I’m not going to get all carried away with it when we’ve won a couple of games and we’re playing well.

“We still need to keep more clean sheets; we still need to be more efficient from time to time. But I think the players are performing well and they are also driving it themselves which is really pleasing to see.”

Clean sheets have been an issue for the Robins for some time, Pearson’s side kept the opposition at bay just four times in 23 home league games last season.

But three consecutive clean sheets at Ashton Gate is a positive sign that their defensive troubles are becoming less of a downfall.

“Home form is always important. We’ve had long spells where we’ve struggled at home and that’s really not an easy thing for the players to deal with,” he said.

“For our fans as well, I think it’s important that we give our fanbase something to get behind and I think even when we haven’t won games, hopefully they can see that the team is committed.

“That’s really, I think, an important part of what we deliver on a matchday, that the team have a level of commitment and that their work ethic is very evident. I think that’s something which has to underpin what you do.”