Manager Russell Slade has admitted he can only give Cardiff and himself 5 out of 10 for the campaign we’ve had, but he continues to believe in himself and he believes he’s the right man to get us a promotion push in 2015-16.
In quotes carried by Wales Online from his pre game press conference, Slade dismissed complaints about Cardiff’s style of play pointing to the fact that soon to be crowned Premier League Champions Chelsea are called ‘boring.’
‘Yes. I believe in myself. I think the important thing is there is a growing unity in the changing room, a strong squad who are together, a nucleus of a strong squad that needs to be strengthened. We will try to do that despite the criticism, we`re trying to move forward and we will move forward.’
As for the view of the fans on his performances so far, and of course with fans calling for his head during games, he went on to say.
‘It is for the fans to decide, but they should decide over a period of time, and I don`t think this is the right time. We need to have a full pre-season, a summer where we regroup and maybe then that will be the time to have a look and see if there has been significant progress made. It`s a question of understanding. There are a lot of things that have been sorted out at the football club and at some stage you have to do that.’
Slade went on to say that we have been able to do that restructuring in the Championship and people had been talking about relegation, and whilst he disagreed with that view, he thinks people should focus on the fact relegation never came into play but we have now made the off pitch changes that were needed so we could grow again.
‘A lot of work has had to be done to get into the situation we`re at, but we`re in a good position – or a better position – to move forward. That`s what I would say to the fans. My point is it can get worse and it has got worse for some clubs in the past. What I`m saying is that we`ve got to a level where we`ve stabilised the football club and given the transfer window will be time to move forward again.’
As for himself and his own performance this year, he wouldn’t be drawn on whether another manager could have done a better job during the restructuring, but said with 700 off games in management he does ”knows what he is doing` but in saying that he knew mistakes had been made and some shortcomings had been shown, but he feels those can be suitably rectified over the summer and by having a pre season with the players because he now knows everybody far better than he did in the early days.
Having been asked to rate himself and the season.
‘We are in mid-table so it would have to be somewhere in the middle. It would be a 5. We might even nick a 6 if we win tomorrow.’
But he wasn’t having criticism of the style of play.
‘People criticise Jose Mourinho for being boring and I know they are top of the Premier League and it`s different – but I don`t see it anyway. I don`t agree with it. Some of our performances, particularly away from home because I don`t think we`ve got it right at home, have been decent and far from boring.’
The gaffer was also asked directly, now the season is all but over, to explain some of the problems he inherited from former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but he didn’t want to say too much on that score, other than pointing to a lack of fitness and foresight when it had came to our previous dealings in the transfer market.
‘Obviously the objective when I came in was to try and turn things around because it was a difficult situation the club were in, and to attempt to get in that top six. But when you looked a little more deeply, which I did, there were a lot of things that needed to be addressed. Yes, I expected us to be higher when you looked from the outside and saw the amount of players that were here but then there wasn`t the partnerships I thought might be here. A lot of players had been brought together with perhaps not enough thought put into them. There were just things that needed addressing that were not right in my professional opinion. I have highlighted some of them, I am not going to tell you every one of them, am I?’
He went on to say categorically the ‘fitness levels’ of some at the club weren’t at the level they needed to be if the club was to move forward and for him proof of that was the fact we struggled to score a goal after an hour of the game was gone.
‘My first problem was we needed to be in front after 60 minutes to get a result. Listen, it falls on my shoulders. The players will be the first to admit there has not been the level of consistency in individual or collective performances required to where we wanted to be. Excuses are useless. We are on 59 points, no-one is making excuses and nobody is happy with where we are. As a group we think we have underachieved? Do we think we can do better? Of course.’
Adding that the summer transfer window as well as a full pre season with the players doing what he wants will obviously bear improvement on that front.
‘There is a lot of planning gone into pre-season to get that exceptionally strong and right so we can go off a good basis. I accept we need a good start but that is not insurmountable. Nothing is impossible, the season before (Leyton Orient) I went the first eight games unbeaten, I won them. It might well take something like that but a good start would be imperative to any campaign if you want to do well.’
He also again said that owner Vincent Tan was fully on board with what he wanted to do in the summer and he was confident he’d be fully backed.
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