Mark Robins has challenged his team to continue to show “heart” after the Sky Blues were beaten 2-0 at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
Late goals from Britt Assombalonga and Djed Spence were enough to seal the points for Neil Warnock’s side as City continue to get to grips with life in the Championship.
Despite suffering defeat on Teesside, Robins hopes his players continue to play with heart and confidence with the Sky Blues in action again on Friday night against league leaders Reading.
Robins said: “We’re still playing catch-up, we can’t afford to lose heart and we can’t afford to lose confidence, you can see that the confidence isn’t totally flowing through the team, but they’ve got to find that within themselves, this is where you find your steel.
“We’re looking like a side that’s been promoted and looking a little bit fearful, these are good players and they will grow, they’re going to better, it’s just a case of not standing by and waiting for that to happen, you have to earn the right for that and we have to make sure that’s the work we do.
“From our perspective we’ve not played football for six months, that’s been a big setback for us, the other teams are mid-season now, they’ve played 18 games, we’re trying to play catch-up trying to get to a level that’s difficult enough anyway.
“We’re a bit behind the curve, we have to get over these results but also, by doing that, not wait and look back with regret in another 10 to 15 games because we’ve not had a go.”
The manager feels City’s long break from competitive football, following the curtailment of the 2019/20 League One season, has made for a tough start back in the second tier.
“We defended okay on Saturday, we had a man sent off, they score the penalty and it’s game over and I say that because of the amount of games, we’ve got injuries and suspensions on top of the games coming thick and fast.
“It’s a totally different unique set of circumstances that all of us are facing and ours is compounded by the fact that we didn’t play for six months prior to the start of the season.
“Is this going to be a long, hard, season for us, or can we turn around and actually mount a decent comeback and get to a decent level, that’s what it’s about for us, this club has been through a difficult period over the last eight to ten years and it’s in a decent position now in the Championship where we can learn to play at this level.”