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MALKY PRAISES SQUAD'S 'SOLID START'

PUBLISHED

18:00 31st August 2013

by Oliver Roderick

Malky Mackay spoke to the press following Saturday’s draw with Everton and talked of his team’s performance this afternoon, revealed a new defensive recruit and spoke of the Club’s plans for the remainder of the transfer window.


First up, Malky was asked for his reaction to a penalty incident in the first half, which his opposite number Roberto Martinez felt should have been awarded to the Toffees.


“I’ve not seen [the penalty incident] other than when I watched it live,” he replied. “When I looked at it live, I felt that it would have been incredibly soft if it had been given – I felt there was very minimal contact and that the player was already on his way down.”


The Bluebirds’ boss went on to give his reaction to the rest of the events of the match at Cardiff City Stadium today.


“I was very pleased with my team’s performance,” he started. "Again we’ve played against a top team here; Everton were sixth in the Barclays Premier League last year, so I made sure my players knew that if we had been off our game, we would have been beaten here today.


"But we made no mistake about that; we were at it, they were at it and I thought that the two teams matches each other stride for stride. I believe that in terms of shots on target it might have been 3-2 to us, but it was a very close game of few chances. My players demonstrated huge concentration levels to keep getting into the right positions, and then to have the calmness and confidence to counter well. During the first twenty minutes of the second half, there were a couple of real chances that on another day we might have scored. To have four points after three games is a solid start for us.


“People this week have still wanted to talk to us about the Manchester City game, but we knew we had another huge game against top opposition in Everton to think about. Another positive was that we kept a clean sheet here today, one which I felt we deserved.”


With City picking up their first Barclays Premier League clean sheet with the 0-0 draw, Malky was full of praise for his back line, saying: “I looked at my back four and my goalkeeper especially this week – we defend as a unit, but there were a few exceptional performances today in defence. David Marshall made a fantastic save towards the end of the first half, but that was something that we’ve seen him do every game in the Championship. He's a top goalkeeper – that’s why he’s in the Scotland squad and hopefully he’ll play against Belgium on Friday night.


“Steven Caulker has come into the club and settled in as if he’s been here for years. As I’ve said before, I think he’s a fantastic prospect for England. So far, he and Ben have had tests against a varying degree of top international footballers so far this season and they’ve come through that with flying colours as far as I’m concerned. To back that up we’ve got Mark Hudson, who had a top year for us last season and is still being kept out of the side by those two. That’s the depth we have – but the players in possession know that there is always somebody else waiting to take that jersey.”


Some of the Cardiff City squad will now take a break from action for the upcoming international break, and when asked if the break in the season was frustrating due it coming as the Bluebirds enjoy a good spell of momentum, Malky was not concerned.


“We know when international breaks are, so everything we do is focused on working to the right timescales while allowing the players to get enough rest in as well," he continued. “The players have worked hard for two and a half months now, so some of them will get a rest and recovery period. I’ve got a group now that is as fit as any I’ve ever worked with, and that’s a testament to the players and also the coaches that work with them.”


The biggest news to come out of the press conference was Malky’s announcement of a new addition to the Cardiff City ranks, as he was asked about his plans for short time left in this transfer window.


“We’re still working,” he said. “We’ve signed Kévin Théophile-Catherine, a French defender from Rennes today – he was here watching the game. He’s someone that we’ve tracked over the last year in France, and he’s someone that has pace, is aggressive and has good experience in Ligue Un.


“We’ll work hard to do something else in the next couple of days, but as with everything there’s always competition to contend with. The people we bring in have got to be people that add to our squad. You always strive to get as many as you can in, but sometimes competition, or constraints, can stop anything happening.


"However, I think we’ve got a great group here already that have shown over the first three games that they deserve to be in the Barclays Premier League.”