Mark Robins believes the Sky Blues can “take heart” from their performance after being beaten 2-1 by Bristol City in the opening game of the Sky Bet Championship season.
City went behind to a Jamie Paterson goal inside the first minute, before Matty Godden equalised with a well-taken strike to bring the Sky Blues level, only for a late Tomas Kalas header to secure the points for the home side.
The manager was pleased with the Sky Blues efforts and praised City’s belief after going behind so early in the game.
Robins said: “After the first 20 seconds, when we conceded the goal in poor circumstances, we tried to get after them as quickly as we possibly could and we ended up out of shape and out of position and it was easy for them to put the ball in behind.
“After that I thought we settled down really well and got to grips with it, we played some really good stuff, we passed the ball really well.
“The belief was there, that’s a good thing, we didn’t play with any real fear, the goal we scored was a good goal and I thought we thoroughly deserved it, at one-nil we had some really good chances.
“We ran out of legs, but there’s some really good things to be pleased about, Bristol have aspirations of promotion and the top-six, we’re looking at it slightly differently, but there’s enough in this game to take heart from considering we’re not up to speed just yet.”
Robins was disappointed with the manner of the two goals City conceded, but felt his side defended well and were disrupted by losing captain Liam Kelly to injury mid-way through the first half.
“To start the way we did is not the way we are, normally, but again, we’re playing against a different level of player from last year, and it’s good to feel what the level is and this is the top end of the level.
“Conceding from a set-play is something that we don’t do, the players know their jobs so there’s things to be disappointed with, we’ve given the point away, they’ve not really hurt us too much, we’ve defended pretty well.
“The changes that I had to make with Liam Kelly put us on the back foot, you’re down to two changes, but when we concede a goal like we did, you’ve lost the opportunity to bring a striker on, it was a difficult one.
“Hopefully, we can learn from it, we’ll get fitter quicker and benefit from this experience and performance.”
The game was the Sky Blues first league outing since March and Robins was impressed by summer signings Gustavo Hamer and Callum O’Hare at Ashton Gate.
“Our players are desperate to play, March was the last time we played a league game, that’s a long time, everybody was desperate to get the first game under their belt and desperate to start to well.
“Gus is learning, I thought he was brilliant, some of his passing was outstanding, he was involved the move for the goal, Callum O’Hare was brilliant, I thought we were good generally and played some really good football.
“They’ve felt what it’s like to play against a really good team away from home and had some real success with it.”