MANAGER Mark Robins says Coventry City must shake off their tag as a promoted side to get to the standard of their Championship rivals – following Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough.
Neil Warnock’s Boro struck twice late on through Britt Assombalonga and Djed Spence to snatch a respectable point from City’s grasp at the Riverside Stadium, another cruel reminder of the ruthlessness of the sides at this level in the aftermath of Saturday’s 4-0 home drubbing by Blackburn Rovers.
While the Sky Blues were soundly beaten playing the majority of the game with ten-man at the weekend, there were few improvements to be seen in midweek, a factor which Robins believes is a reflection of the difficult hand his side have been dealt going into the current campaign.
“From our perspective, we’ve not played football for six months [prior to the current season], that’s been a big setback for us,” he said.
“The other teams are mid-season now, they’ve played 18 games, we’re trying to play catch-up and trying to get to a level that’s difficult enough anyway.
“We’re looking like a side that’s been promoted and looking a little bit fearful, these are good players and they will grow, they’re going to be better, it’s just a case of not standing by and waiting for that to happen.
“You have to earn the right for that and we have to make sure that’s the work we do. We have to get over these results but also, by doing that, not wait and look back with regret in another ten to 15 games because we’ve not had a go.”
After a cagey first half, Sam Morsy gave Coventry a scare when firing a deflected shot against Marko Marosi’s crossbar early in the second period.
The closest the visitors came was through Jamie Allen’s ambitious attempt that whistled just wide of Marcus Bettinelli’s goal before Boro’s late show.
Assombalonga kept his cool to finish from Morsy’s through ball with nine minutes remaining, while Spence settled matters in the fifth minute of stoppage time with a measured finish past Marosi.
Robins’ side do not have to wait long for their next assignment, a meeting with unbeaten league leaders Reading at St. Andrew’s on Friday night (7.45pm).