BRISTOL City boss Lee Johnson is wary of the individual talents housed within Saturday’s visiting Leeds United side but hopes his men’s “team ethic” will keep his Robins flying along near the top of the league.
After finishing 17th last season, City sit fourth in the table having won five of their last nine league games with the Robins preparing to host sixth-placed Leeds on the back of a 12-game unbeaten run.
The Bristol outfit have only lost once in the league this term – to Birmingham City – and Johnson’s men have trailed for only 71 minutes so far this league campaign excluding injury time.
Johnson says his men are yet to take a “punch on the nose” but the 36-year-old admits further setbacks will be inevitable with the young manager aware of the threat carried by Thomas Christiansen’s Leeds.
United will arrive at Ashton Gate having lost their last three games but the Robins boss has been quick to highlight the individual talents within United’s squad.
Yet Johnson, who refuses to cite this weekend as a good time to catch the Whites, hopes to topple United through the “team ethic” and “work rate” of his surprise package side.
Asked if he felt this weekend was a good time to play the Whites, Johnson reasoned: “I think they have got good players.
“I have watched their games and they have been tight.
“Probably the Sheffield Wednesday game they will be a little bit disappointed with their performance but in the Reading game they dominated and they got done when they missed a penalty.
“It should have been a draw with the last kick of the game nearly.
“They will have confidence in their ability and I think it will be two evenly-matched teams.
“Maybe individually, I think they have got some talent in there but I think our team ethic and our team work rate will enable it to be a really entertaining game.
“We have got a huge crowd coming which is great and expectation has built up on both teams. We have got to embrace that and we have got to enjoy these big games.”
City have enjoyed victory in five of their 12 games in the new Championship campaign with the Robins having drawn six times and lost just the once.
The Robins have not lost since falling to a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham City in their second league game and the hosts approach Saturday’s clash on a 12-game unbeaten run.
Johnson said: “We haven’t really taken a punch on the nose yet and I think we have only been down in a game added up over all of the games for 77 minutes or something like that.
“It’s an interesting stat because we will get a punch on the nose and we have got to be able to deal with that.
“It’s important that we just keep the process going and try and go from good to great in certain areas.”
Assessing United’s recent three losses in succession, Johnson said: “There is a lot of analysis that goes on now in every Championship club and if you have got a weakness then clubs will find it and inevitably they will end up exploiting it.
“Obviously they have got weaknesses, like all teams have, like we have and every other team in the Championship and unfortunately for them, over the last two or three occasions they have been exposed and exploited. They have also got some fantastic strengths.
“They have got some very good individuals in the top part of the pitch and solid defenders.
“We know it’s going to be a difficult game.
“It’s a good game, both teams are in the play-offs positions at this moment in time.
“There will be a big crowd, high expectancy from both clubs and it should be a cracking, almost like a cup tie.”