Having suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at Norwich in midweek, the Robins are now charged with the task of hosting the other two clubs recently relegated from the Premier League in back-to-back fixtures at Ashton Gate.
And City's head coach is urging his players to believe in themselves as they prepare to take on Rafa Benitez's expensively-assembled team.
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Although City suffered their first setback of the season at Carrow Road on Tuesday, Johnson feels the performance ought to derive confidence ahead of what promises to be another tough assignment against one of the division's big hitters.
He said: "I told them they need to use these games as a learning experience and they need to believe in themselves. I can tell them that until I'm blue in the face, but they have to feel it themselves to have the best chance of progressing.
"If you look at the individual performances of our players, you will see there were a lot more rights than wrongs. There is just a little bit of quality we need to find in certain areas.
"I asked them to analyse their performances and be honest with themselves, whether it's a little bit of fitness, a little bit of savvy or decision making when tired.
"They have to look themselves in the mirror and think 'what is it that's going to take me to the next level. Then we can work on it and, if they make themselves coachable, we will make them better players, that's for sure."
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Although Norwich created the better chances and scored a 38th minute winner through Jonny Howson, Johnson felt his young side matched the Canaries for long periods of the game.
He chose to praise his charges after the final whistle rather than take them to task for their first defeat in four outings this season.
He added: "I thought we did well and there were spells in the game where we matched them. They had the best opportunities and struck the post, but we did that as well.
"I was really pleased with the group. We had a lot of young lads out there and, if you look at our youth compared with their experience, you will see that their average age is 28 or 29.
"It's a big stadium and a tough place to come and, overall, I cannot be harsh on my players, because they gave everything.
"I thought my team competed very well against a top side that is expected to be up there in the top two."