Manager Russell Slade has effectively described the victory over Nottingham Forest at the weekend as a statement of intent on what he wants Cardiff to be next season as in his post game press conference he built on his earlier words of describing the season as being only five out of ten by insisting the fans had not seen the best of him yet.
In quotes carried by Wales Online following the two one win, Slade explained that he genuinely believed Cardiff had now laid the foundations this year for a true promotion challenge in 2015-16 with more to come from the team.
‘We haven’t seen the true me or the true Cardiff City under me. It’s fair to ask that question but I’m sure with more movement in the summer and a pre-season where we can know each other’s strengths and weaknesses more we will be better. We know fans will want to see a real promotion push next season but so do the players and so do I.’
Slade went on to say that this year really had been about ‘regrouping’ as a club and he now feels that we had stabilised but again he more than appreciated fans don’t want to hear that, they want to see their club fighting and challenging and we hadn’t done that this year – but for him we could’ve easily been Wigan Athletic, and history is littered with clubs who fall from the top flight and keep falling and he was adamant that wouldn’t be us.
‘We’ve seen Wigan go through the trap door, Wolves have gone through it in the past, the Sheffield clubs, Coventry, Portsmouth. People think things can’t get worse sometimes but, trust me, in this game it can. We’ve stopped that decline and now it’s time to regroup, we have an important summer and it’s time to move forward.’
Moving on to the game itself and the performance he went on to say that in some ways we play better away from home and that’s something that has to be rectified next season as he knows performances, as well as results, have been a bugbear for fans.
‘We seem to move the ball better away from home and we were quite ruthless with the goals that both came from good moves. There’s possibly a few reasons why we seem to be better away from home but we do find the space a bit better. There is a growing unity and togetherness and we showed that and showed we wanted it a little bit more to win the game.’
With the sending off of goalkeeper David Marshall, Slade didn’t criticise him for the mistake but knew it was a red mist that the player himself would be disappointed with.
‘He’s made a mistake and seen the red mist and it’s probably one of those you regret minutes or hours layer. There’s not a lot of contact but he’s provoking him as well going right up to him. It does happen and we’d be lying if we said we don’t all see the red mist occasionally.’
Few will be won over by the first 45 minutes but maybe it raised an eye brow or two in terms of a future potential style, the question is will the summer signings enthuse the fans and will we see that kind of attacking display on a more regular basis?
In a second interview he talked more about the summer plans and he was again asked if he feared he wouldn’t be in the role come August.
‘On the contrary, we are in the process of getting organised for next season and that has been going on for some time. I am going to Malaysia, while Vincent may well come over to Cardiff first as well. There is a lot of work in progress. That work will continue when the owner and I meet.’
He also confirmed that he would be meeting with every single one of the players in the coming weeks, including those out on loan for talks about their futures as he continues reshaping the squad he wants.
‘I will make sure I speak to every player one-to-one before they go off for the summer and so will our medical team, who have planned individual programmes for everybody. Some players who haven`t been fit enough because of injury problems will be coming back to ensure they make progress. We are organised and on top of it going into the close season.’
He went on to add that changes would obviously be afoot but that’s the same at every club at this stage of the year.
‘There will be changes in the squad. That`s inevitable at every club up and down country. Everybody will have ins and outs. We won`t be any different. It could be a highly exciting season in 2015-16. I really believe it could be. We have regrouped as a club and finished 11th. We wanted better than that, of course, but we have stabilised and are moving forward. We want to be winning and making progress. We are pleased with what we have done away, but I wish we could sort out our home form and demonstrate those same performances in our stadium. There will be challenges next season and we have to embrace those.’
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