‘UGLY WIN’ IS A BEAUTY FOR BLUEBIRDS...
DELIGHTED Cardiff City manager Russell Slade hailed his side’s ability to ‘win ugly’ after they got the better of fellow play-off chasers Ipswich Town.
Bruno Manga’s powerful 18thminute header in what was a drab encounter proved the difference as the home side kept themselves just one point and one place off the top six with a third win in four games.
“It was a big win for us. I’m not a great believer in six-pointers because you can never do that, but the three points are huge for us at this moment in time,” the Cardiff boss said.
“It’s about consistently putting the results together at this time, we had a fantastic game against Leeds and collected nothing for our efforts, but here, it was different.
“Ipswich are probably the best at grinding out a result in this league and we have done it to them. I’m proud we’ve done that, that we’ve been able to win ugly. It was not pretty, but we really fought.
“When you are playing those around you like this, and we’ve still got Sheffield Wednesday, Derby and Birmingham to play, they are going to be big, big games so credit to the attitude of the players. The bottom line is we can only control what we are doing, that’s the important thing.
“We can’t control what else is going on around the country. But if we’ve had a positive result and another side has not, that gives us a lift obviously and gives us some momentum – and that is critical at this stage.”
His counterpart, Mick McCarthy insisted his travelweary Ipswich side are not out of the Championship play-off race despite this defeat.
Ipswich are now four points adrift of the play-offs, although they have a game in hand. With their next two fixtures taking place at Portman Road, McCarthy is hopeful home comforts will help his side get back on track.
“We have had no time to do anything at the moment, we have just been travelling around on the bus for 11 hours and playing football,” he said.
“We have two home games coming up against Blackburn and Rotherham and we really need to win to get back in the mix, there are no mugs in this league so we need to play well.
“But I felt we should really have come away from this game with a goalless draw.
“There is a bit of frustration, there was nothing in the game apart from one corner kick. It was a great cross from Peter Whittingham and a great header, but we should not be giving the opposition a free header there.
“It was quite a flat game otherwise. The whole atmosphere was flat.We lost the ball in the middle of the pitch a lot, it was scruffy, turgid.
“I was thinking we could nick it with a free-kick or corner but unfortunately it was them.”
Ipswich had actually started the better of the two sides with Freddie Sears looking lively up front as his movement caused the Cardiff rearguard some discomfort.
But they fell behind thanks to an excellent outswinging corner from Whittingham which saw Manga get across his marker to power a header into the net.
Ipswich had the edge after the break and Ben Pringle should have done better than firing high and wide when Daryl Murphy’s clever knockdown found him in space.
Scott Malone then had to clear desperately under pressure from Sears after Cardiff keeper Simon Moore had fumbled a cross on the edge of his own six-yard box.
But the Bluebirds, who saw Anthony Pilkington volley over a late chance to make the points safe, held on with reasonable comfort for a precious three points.
HEAD FIRST: Ipswich Town’s Freddie Sears, left, and Cardiff City’s Joe Ralls battle