BLUEBIRDS BATTLE ONE STEP CLOSER TO TARGET
WATFORD ..........0 Goalless draw shows City’s steel
THERE was no trophy, no champagne or streamers. And there was certainly no talk of promotion from Cardiff boss Malky Mackay.
But after a grim, gritty draw that summed up Cardiff’s battling qualities with perfect eloquence, those watching were left in no doubt – the Bluebirds are going up.
There was no tiki-taka, no flair or fluency. Just defensive diligence and a steely determination not to blow it after six months at the summit.
The result was a 16th clean sheet of the season, an eightpoint cushion to the third-placed Hornets and just eight more required to seal a place in the Premier League.
“We’ve come away to the team that’s scored the most goals in the league and kept a clean sheet, so it’s a fantastic result,” said Mackay whose side are at home in four of their last six matches.
“We played well, we played to our game plan.We were very dogged and very intelligent in the way we played in the second half. I was very proud of them.
“But promotion? No. You’ve just got to look at the game in front of your face. At the minute, it’s just about having the right mentality, showing the same character that has kept us top of the league since November.”
Mackay, who won promotion with Watford as a player in 2006 and returned to manage the Hornets in 2009, also admitted that he would like to see Watford – currently three points adrift of Hull in second – pip the Tigers to promotion.
“I said that to Gianfranco at the end,” he said. “It’s a club that’s close to my heart. I was honoured to be manager here and it’s a wonderful community who come out and support their football club.”
South Korean grafter Kim BoKyung was Cardiff’s standout performer in the early stages, his waspish persistence often forcing Watford into clumsy errors. He might have opened the scoring too, a typically belligerent run along the byline resulting in a shot that Manuel Almunia did superbly to stop.
At that point, the home side looked utterly cowed, Cardiff’s determination to hassle and harry clearly getting under the Golden Boys’ skin.
But when a Troy Deeney header was hoofed off the line by Aron Gunnarsson,Watford’s classy counterattacking kicked into gear and, after Cristian Bat-
CHALLENGE: Watford’s Troy Deeney, left, vies with Cardiff’s Ben Turner