BLUEBIRDS WAKE UP TO STING BEES
CARDIFF boss Neil Warnock says he finds it hard to get himself pumped up for games when there is nothing riding on them.
But he would have felt the excitement rushing back after Cardiff’s second-half turnaround which saw them knock off Brentford.
Goals from Peter Whittingham and Sean Morrison cancelled out Sergi Canos’s opener to secure backto-back home wins for the Bluebirds in this mid-table clash.
Cardiff were way off the pace in the first half and were deservedly a goal down at the break. But Warnock’s hairdryer treatment paid dividends.
“I must admit the first half might have epitomised myself. It’s very difficult to get myself up for a game when I know we are safe,” he said.
“I need an edge on my games as well. I told my assistant Kevin Blackwell to give me a kick up the backside if he thinks I’m slacking because it’s easy to become complacent.
“Brentford had more possession but we created the better chances. It’s disappointing when you go a goal down but I was pleased with the turnaround.
“Fair play to the lads for taking on board what was said and making a game of it in the second half.
“It’s quite easy at this time of the year to go through the motions, but I want fans to go home and talk about the goals and saves.”
Brentford took the lead in the 42nd minute when Konstantin Kerschbaumer’s clever back-heel found Canos, whose low drive beat Cardiff goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
The Spaniard has really shone since rejoining Brentford in January for a club-record fee, believed to be in the region of £2.5m, after a shortlived and frustrating spell at Norwich. It was the 20-year-old’s fourth goal in as many games.
And the opening goal had been coming with the Bees’ stylish football. Jota’s shot was deflected inches wide and McGregor somehow managed to keep out Yoann Barbet’s bullet header.
All of Brentford’s dominance in the latter stages of the first half was undone shortly after the break when Morrison drew Cardiff level. The Bluebirds skipper rose highest to head home Whittingham’s corner in the 47th minute.
In a second half where chances were limited, Whittingham hit the winner in the 76th minute after connecting well with Kenneth Zohore’s knock-down.
Cardiff had Jazz Richards to thank when his sliding tackle stopped Alan McCormack from bearing down on goal late on.
And Warnock’s men suffered an injury-time scare when Lasse Vibe’s deflected shot looked goalbound but ended up in the side-netting.
This result ended Brentford’s hopes of winning four successive Championship games for the first time since October 2015.
Manager Dean Smith said: “I’m very frustrated because it’s a game that we were in total control of and could’ve scored a bit more in the first half. We scored a great goal and I expected us to go on and win two or three nil.
“The game had a pre-season feel to it, it was flat and there was no zip. Our build-up play was really good but they defended deep and made it hard for us.
“Sergi Canos reminded me that I put him on the bench when we played here last year. He’s a good talent, but we’ve got a lot of players scoring goals.”
HOIL AND TROUBLE: Junior Hoilett avoids Rico Henry’s sliding tackle and, inset, Sean Morrison celebrates scoring Cardiff’s equaliser