Mick Beale praised QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng for a vital early contribution after his side deservedly won at Ashton Gate, 2-1 in the Sky Bet Championship.
Stefan Johansen fired the visitors in front in the 19th minute – slotting home after Chris Willock’s shot had hit a post – and three minutes later Leeds loanee Tyler Roberts netted his first league goal of the season with a far post volley.
Nahki Wells’ 61st-minute strike from close range against his former club was not enough to earn out-of-sorts City a point.
QPR were always a threat going forward but it was a brilliant 16th-minute Dieng save, diving to palm Zak Vyner’s header onto a post, that manager Beale cited as the key moment in the game.
He said: “That moment seemed to wake us up and from then on we played some really good football.
“It was a very big save because Bristol City started the game on fire, with great intensity, and their crowd were really up for it.
“The first goal was always going to be important and if Seny had not kept that header out, it might have been an entirely different story.
“We respected Bristol as an attacking force and it was important that our front three did better than theirs. That’s what happened.
“No one could have complained if we had been more than two goals up at the interval, although they had one or two chances too.
“If we had been a bit more ruthless, we could have been out of sight. But 2-0 is a dangerous score and, like a lot of teams, we became nervous.
“Overall, to come to a place where our opponents’ home form has been really good – and win – is very satisfying.
“I knew we would have to grind things out at some stage and we defended strongly when we had to.
“I am delighted with the win at the start of a marathon week in which we play on Tuesday and Friday night.”
City boss Nigel Pearson made no attempt to excuse a lacklustre performance.
He said: “We made too many unforced errors, not just at the back, but all over the pitch.
“It was always likely to be a tight game and we gifted them two goals. I am not going to offer excuses because too many of our players were below par.
“We caused ourselves problems. You can’t give teams that sort of start in Championship games and expect to come back and win.
“We have had three narrow defeats on the spin but today feels very different because we contributed so much to our own downfall.
“There was a bit of nervousness. At least we got back into the game in the second half, but they had opportunities too and I can have no complaints over the result.
“I have not seen the need to be overly critical when other results haven’t gone our way, but this was not a performance befitting what we are about.
“I didn’t see the same character traits we have shown in other games, win, lose or draw.
“We fell short of our standards collectively. Not everyone played badly and we showed willingness to fight back, but we kept on making mistakes.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe