Ole Gunnar Solskjær was able to reflect on a performance with plenty of positives on the final day of the season, giving optimism to the potential for a 2014/15 campaign to enjoy on the pitch.
Craig Bellamy had opened the scoring on the fifteen-minute mark with a left-footed drive, with Cardiff City leading against Premier League giants Chelsea by that single goal for seventy minutes. Chelsea's abundant quality however showed as they hit back through Schürlle and Torres in the space of three minutes before seeing out the win.
“We were close against a very good side.” Ole said, praising his squad. “I think we defended fantastically with some last-ditch blocks and we kept a good shape. It wasn't to be though because we couldn't keep them at bay. They created down the sides, bombing on through their full-backs. To be one goal up for so long, I think my players deserve praise. They have good players all around, but I thought my players did really well as well.”
A frantic opening period saw Steven Caulker stretch to divert a certain goal for Fernando Torres, after which on the quarter-hour mark the Bluebirds were one up.
“Our goal, I thought that was excellent,” Ole said. “Of course, it was a deflection, but how it started with Jordon Mutch breaking the play up, Whitt's switching the ball to Bellers - it was a nice goal.”
When questioned on what changes will be brought in over the summer, Ole was optimistic about the signs of progress displayed, including the development of young players Rhys Healey and Tom James.
“I think everyone can see the signs that the players here have a lot of quality,” he said. “There will be a few changes, in my view it's important to try and keep hold of the most important ones. We need to strengthen and we will be ready for the season when it starts on the ninth of August.
“Rhys has been excellent in the under-21s and he's a great goal scorer. You want to reward them and show them that there’s a pathway through and that they can make an impact. You also saw Tom – he's going to be a good player! They've had a taste of what they can be a part of.”
The ever-impressive Dæhli was brought off to a rousing ovation, Ole explaining his substitution and the omission of Gary Medel, saying, “Mats has been ill, running out of energy. Gary has a groin problem and I couldn't risk a player's opportunity to go to the World Cup.”
After a difficult year the Cardiff City boss finally talked about the road ahead and the importance of owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan, saying, “I think the players have done really well in focussing on what's important for them – to perform on the pitch. The dialogue between the club and the fans, I think that's very important.
“Vincent is very passionate about the club, he wants to make this a success. Both on and off the pitch, unity will be important. The spirit of the squad in the Championship is just as important as the quality – it is a very mentally testing league. We have cup games, but you play all the time, so you've got to love it. Even though it's raining on a Tuesday night, you play football!”
By Liam Jones - @LiamJonesJourno