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‘Fit and physical’ – Simpson impressed with City squad

Assistant Head Coach Paul Simpson has been impressed with the fitness and physicality of the City players since his appointment.

Having been involved in the opening days of pre-season, the highly experienced coach is excited about the journey ahead, with the squad’s desire to succeed and be the best, leaving a positive first impression.

Simpson is looking forward to working with Dean Holden, Keith Downing and the rest of the coaching team to build on the strong foundations already in place to ensure the Robins are in the best shape ahead of the Sky Bet Championship curtain raiser. 

“The recent heat has been incredible, and I take my hat off to the lads for the work they’ve put in,” Simpson told Robins TV. 

“Their attitude, commitment, quality and fitness has been absolutely outstanding so far and it’s given us a really, really good base to build on, which is what we have to do from now until that first game.

“The first thing I’m impressed with is the physicality. They look some real proper physical specimens; we’ve got some really good athletes.

“We’ve had the footballs out and we started to drum into the players simple messages about getting the basics right, the simple things – passing, looking forward, playing forward, reacting to losing the ball and not allowing transitions against us. We’re talking about all those simple things and I think they’ve applied themselves really well.”

Although pre-season can be a gruelling time for players, Simpson called for the squad to continue working to its maximum throughout, as it will only prove to be of benefit in the long run, as the best teams will tell you.

“They’ve got to work; they’ve got to do it,” he continued. “You go to the best teams in the country, you look at Liverpool and Manchester City and they work harder than anyone else so why shouldn’t we, why shouldn’t we work hard?

“That’s what supporters want. I know when we go back the supporters won’t be able to be inside the stadium, but they’ll be watching on TV and there’ll be clips they see. I think if they can see us working, they’ll accept that we will make some mistakes but they’ll take it because they know we are trying to do the right things. The players are trying to work as hard as they can and produce performances and that’s what we want from everyone, so we can go through the season and have a really positive time.

“I think there’s two sides of the game – when you have the ball and when you haven’t. We want to have a style of play when we’ve got it and when we don’t have it, we want to be really hard to beat. We want to make sure we go and win it back as early as we can, go back and protect the goal and if we can keep a clean sheet, it’s not just the defence and goalkeeper. It’s the forwards who started it for us, it’s the midfielders who have made it difficult to play though and we want a mentality that we are all in it together.

“First and foremost, we are here to support the manager. Whatever Dean wants, however he wants us to play, we have to go out and support it. We’ve then got to put the sessions on to go and apply it.

“We are going to set the players targets - numbers of clean-sheets and numbers of goals because ultimately, we all want to be successful. To be successful there are averages over the season you need to get which we are aware of, and we need to go and try and achieve it.”

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