Bristol City’s FA Cup defeat by Manchester City gives the team an indication of what they aspire to be, said manager Nigel Pearson.
The Championship club held the Premier League champions to a one-goal lead for 70 minutes in the fifth-round tie at Ashton Gate, before losing 3-0.
The defeat ended a 12-game unbeaten run for the Robins in all competitions.
“It gives us a bit of a yardstick as to where we are,” Pearson told BBC Radio Bristol.
“We aspire to be a Premier League side and I think it gives us an indication of how we need to approach our future.”
Phil Foden scored twice before Kevin de Bruyne added Manchester City’s third with nine minutes remaining.
Bristol City had a penalty appeal waved away after Mark Sykes went down in the box, while Sam Bell saw a header go narrowly wide in the second half.
“We’re a Championship side that are trying to develop an identity and the most important thing for me is that we were true to that, we were us and I think for long periods they realised they had a really tough game,” Pearson said.
“They knew that they had to be on it, which I think is a compliment to us. Their technical area and their team on the pitch and their subs, they all realised that they needed to be on their game and I don’t think they could pay us a better compliment than that.”
Bristol City next face Cardiff in the Severnside derby on Saturday, with Pearson hoping his side can make a late push for the play-off places and stretch their unbeaten Championship run to 10 games.
“It was a night in which we’ve shown how far we’ve come this year,” Pearson added.
“There’s lots to commend but now we have to get back to business, and that is a local derby, and we need to get back to winning ways and make sure we give as good a push as we can to get in the play-offs.”