Danny Wilson was pleased to finish pre-season on a high but admits there is still plenty to work on before the Guinness PRO12 kick-off against Edinburgh.
Cardiff Blues completed their summer schedule with the 25-24 win and were made to work hard for the slender victory.
They led 12-10 at half-time thanks to tries from Tom James and Steve Shingler. Tom Varndell and the boot of Gavin Henson kept Bristol in touch and they took the lead when the wing crossed for a second.
But Wales’ Capital Region wrapped up the victory with tries from Blaine Scully and Aled Summerhill and a penalty from Jarrod Evans before Ben Mosses claimed a consolation.
Wilson said: “I’m pleased with a number of aspects of our performance but I still think there’s a fair bit to work on.
“For a pre-season fixture it had a balance of what we wanted – plenty of good stuff, good performances individually and collectively, some great tries but some soft ones that we conceded and that’s an area we need to look at.
“We’re moving in the right direction, it has been well documented that we have made a lot of the changes from last season’s squad and a number of people have come in.
“It’s hopefully the biggest personnel change we will have to make so the ability to gel is the important bit.
“We have a week to do some hard preparation and the boys will have the last weekend off with their families before they move into an extremely long run of fixtures.
“It’s a balancing act of keeping boys fresh and fit and giving them enough rugby that they are not rusty.
“Last week was about looking at a few younger guys, this week we played some more experienced guys and we’ve still got to bring back Sam Warburton, Gethin Jenkins, Lloyd Williams, Josh Turnbull and Gareth Anscombe – another five internationals.”
Six of the seven summer signings turned out for the Blues at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Both Nick Williams, who was named the Dominoes Fans’ Man of the Match, and Matthew Morgan caught the eye while Shingler produced another assured performance at fly-half.
Rhys Gill, Kirby Myhill and George Earle also showed up well in their first appearances following their summer move.
Wilson added: “You saw a fair bit of what the new signings will bring. Matthew Morgan with his ability to beat people one on one and create opportunities as he does with footwork and acceleration.
“Nick Williams, the competitiveness of the man – a huge man, with a huge collision but also the subtle skills and the ability to turn the ball over.
“For two new guys, they showed what they are capable in their first time in a Blues shirt and I’m sure there’s plenty to come from them.”