Aitor Karanka - The atmosphere is very good

The atmosphere is very good. We just need to find that formula to winning games because I can’t say anything bad about the players attitude at training.

Aitor Karanka

Blues Head Coach Aitor Karanka says the mood in the squad is positive as he looks ahead to Saturday’s trip to Bristol City.

The Spaniard was speaking to the media ahead of the visit to Ashton Gate that has proved a happy hunting ground for Blues in recent years.

He provided an insight into the mood at The Trillion Trophy Training Centre and what he expects from a side placed fifth in the Sky Bet Championship.

And, following Tuesday’s defeat to Barnsley, it could be expected that the atmosphere was a gloomy one at Wast Hills, but it was apparent from Karanka that positivity remains abundant within the camp.

He explained: “The atmosphere is very good. We just need to find that formula to winning games because I can’t say anything bad about the players attitude at training.”

Before he added: “It’s just that they switch off when something happens in the game. It is something we have to improve, to encourage each other on the pitch and to fight for each other. When we have done this, we have been good.”

The 47-year-old continued and emphasised the importance of keeping positive in relation to developing as a team and delivering winning performances.

“We just have to keep confidence in the group of players, we are doing everything to improve and everybody could feel the improvement before the last international break. They are doing really well and the first ones that want to improve. If I was one of them, it would be the same frustration.”

A win on Saturday would be the fourth in three seasons away to the Robins, with Karanka outlining what Blues must be wary of in order to achieve that.

He said: “They are a good team. I’ve been doing the analysis on them and we have to be careful because if we make the same mistakes that we did against Barnsley, Nahki Wells or [Chris] Martin gets a goal. It will be difficult, but I hope that after the last game we are going to get a reaction.”

Sitting just a point off top spot Karanka is not expecting an easy ride from Bristol City, a side he expects to be challenging come the season’s business end.

“It is a top-six team and I think they will be fighting all the season there. They have been building for a while and they have good players every year. We have to be careful and can’t make the same mistakes we did against Barnsley. We have to approach the game 150% organised and confident, because if you make mistakes against Bristol you will have big problems.”

Key to any Blues success on Saturday, which can be viewed on BluesTV, will be finding the net, but Karanka was keen to stress it is not simply a case of adding more strikers into the mix to achieve that.

Giving an insight into his tactics, he said: “It is not about how many strikers you play it is about how many you can get arriving in the box. For example, if you play 4-2-3-1 and arrive with two wingers and the number ten and the striker then you have four in the box. But if you play with two strikers and don’t get the ball into the box it is impossible to score. It is not about how many strikers you play, but how many players you get into the box.”