BLUEBIRDS CAN’T HIT HIGH NOTES
Slade is dismayed by Cardiff showing
CARDIFF City manager Russell Slade admitted his side must improve if they are to sustain a promotion challenge after being held at home by struggling Rotherham United.
The Bluebirds were second best for long periods and left the Cardiff City Stadium pitch to boos from some home fans following a frustrating stalemate.
Slade had won four out of four at home since taking charge in October and ended his wait for a win on the road at Watford last week.
But Cardiff looked devoid of ideas against Steve Evans’ enterprising Rotherham.
“I’m really disappointed,” said Slade.“We got a terrific result last week and sometimes as a manager you don’t see that kind of performance coming.
“We were below par out there and it’s frustrating for all of us.”
The former Leyton Orient boss defended his record since replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Welsh capital but admitted there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“I don’t see it as a lack of consistency,” he said.“It’s one game.
“I’ve had nine games, won five, drawn two and lost two and I think that’s fairly consistent.
“But we’re not the finished article. We have a lot to improve in every area and there is a lot of work to do if we are going to get to where we want to go.”
The highlight of an uneventful first half saw visiting defender Scott Wootton denied a goal by Cardiff centre-back Ben Turner’s well-timed block.
From the corner a goalmouth scramble in the Bluebirds box led to a poked Tom Lawrence effort being cleared off the line and the hosts survived.
Rotherham edged the first 45 minutes and they continued to look the most likely to break the deadlock after the interval.
Wales U21 international Lawrence, formerly of Manchester United and now on loan at the New York Stadium from Leicester City, was the standout performer.
His jinking run and shot five minutes after the break had everyone on their feet but David Marshall was equal to it with a smart block.
Lawrence’s team-mate Emmanuel Ledesma, on loan from Championship rivals Middlesbrough, also caused Cardiff plenty of problems in the second half.
The Argentine whipped a dangerous free-kick into the side-netting and forced Marshall into a fine save, diving low to his left on 69 minutes.
A listless Cardiff failed to create a clear-cut opening until the final 20 minutes of the match.
Aron Gunnarsson’s determined block put substitute Federico Macheda through oneon-one with Adam Collin and the visiting goalkeeper produced a wonderful fingertip save to keep his side on level terms.
A point was the least the visitors deserved and Millers boss Evans argued that his team’s new passing style should have earned them all three.
“We did more than work hard,” said Evans. “I think we played some super football.
“The passing and movement was exceptional. Cardiff is a big football club with great traditions, just down from the Premier League, but we go away disappointed not to have taken three points.
“We’ve changed our style a bit and we’ve given these young lads a licence to come into this division and embrace it and pass and move the ball.
“It started last week against Blackpool but we stepped it up another level and it’s evident that it’s working.”
“Tom [Lawrence] was unplayable in the first half. If he keeps playing like that Nigel Pearson will want him in the side in January. He showed he should be playing at the top level.”
WAVED AWAY: Rotherham see their penalty appeal ignored by referee Andy D’Urso
CLASS ABOVE: Rotherham’s Tom Lawrence runs at the Cardiff defence
STAR MAN TOM LAWRE