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Liam Manning: New Bristol City boss sees 'so many gains' within squad

New Bristol City manager Liam Manning has said he is excited by the number of "gains" he believes that can be made after two weeks training with the team.

Former Oxford United boss Manning was appointed on 7 November following the sacking of Nigel Pearson.

The 38-year-old oversaw a 0-0 draw with QPR in his first game in charge before a two-week break to their next game at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Manning said the changes he was trying to implement were "not major".

"What excited me after the QPR game [was that] I thought the players created the shape that we want to but then I have so many gains when I watched it back that could be made in terms of the quality that we've got in the team as well, how we hurt opposition," Manning told BBC Radio Bristol.

"I think the biggest bit for me is I want us to keep it but I want us to attack, I want us to excite, I want us to create goals, that side of the game. We put in a bit of extra work on that this week."

Bristol City are currently 11th in the Championship, having won six of their 16 matches so far this season.

While the Robins' owners have talked about the long-term goal being for the club to reach the Premier League, Bristol City have not finished in the play-offs since returning to the second tier in 2015, with eighth their highest position in 2018-19.

Manning said the club has "really high potential" but refused to say if a top-six place was possible this campaign.

"My aim will always be finish as high as we can," he said.

"The biggest bit for me and the players is put your energy into the day-to-day. If you get the day-to-day right, the Saturday doesn't become easier but you're in a better position to deal with it."

Players are 'really coachable'

Manning left Oxford after eight months in charge with the team second in League One and, following his appointment at Ashton Gate, was described as Bristol City's "first choice" to replace Pearson by chairman Jon Lansdown.

Manning said he was most pleased with how receptive the Robins players have been since he started working with them.

"What we've challenged the players with they've picked it up really quickly. It doesn't mean they always get it right but you can see them trying to transfer the information we've given them into the game," he said.

"Even in training this week we've had some pre-meetings of how we want to work, what it looks like, then when we've delivered sessions on it the players have picked it up quite quickly.

"They're the bits that excite me, the group seems really coachable and are able to transfer information from training, or the video work or the meetings we have into games."

Bristol City have been hit by injuries in recent months and while budgets might be limited, Manning said he would look to add to the squad in the January transfer window in some capacity.

"We've had some discussions that we might need to add, so it's now making sure that the right areas, the right profiles are available to allow us to progress and move forward," Manning added.

A number of academy players have, however, stepped up to the first team as a result of gaps and Manning - who has experience working with young players at Ipswich and West Ham - has already been getting to know the younger players in the squad.

He watched the club's under-21 and under-18 sides with his new coaching staff last week.

"There's some exciting young talent in the building, definitely. It's our job, it's the academy's job collectively to make sure the players go from having high levels of intensity into consistent performers," he said.