Cardiff City boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær was left to rue a difficult opening forty five minutes at the Stadium of Light. Having conceded a set-piece, a penalty and being reduced to ten men, the Black Cats had the momentum, forcing the travelling Bluebirds to take extra risks in the second half due to the importance of the result. But despite the clear and frustrating set-back, Ole has promised that his squad will give everything for the cause over the last two games.
“It was massively disappointing to go in two goals down at half time, because the balance of play didn’t really reflect that,” he said. “For the opening twenty five minutes we played well and it was going to plan. We kept them quiet and limited Sunderland to a couple of corners in the first half, though it was naturally disappointing to concede from one of those set-pieces.
“Everything then changed with the sending off. The referee gave it and he has his reasons for that, which we accept as he’s in charge. I’m never been the type of person who complains about referee’s decisions and I won’t compromise my principles just because of this game. Referees have to make a decision and they have to make it in an instant. It’s a hard job, but yes, it made our job very, very difficult. When you’re 2-0 down and down to ten men you’re going to struggle.
“From there we had to try and galvanise and regroup, which isn’t so easy to do with ten men. You always think and hope that there’s a way back when you’re two goals down. We had a few chances, including the Peter Whittingham free-kick and a few other half chances. But when the third goal went in the game was effectively over. Our attitude was there, but we just didn’t have enough.
“We’re all disappointed with the result as it’s given a team in and around us a big opportunity and ourselves a mountain to climb. But we accept the situation and know that we’ll have to start climbing.”
Ole was also realistic on the difficulties of the task at hand, knowing that there are now no further margins for error, saying, “Our survival chances have taken a big blow with this game, but we have two games left and we have to win them both.
“We thought before the Sunderland game that we needed two wins out of three. Now we need two out of two and we will go to Newcastle United determined to give ourselves a chance. We have to win the next two matches. It’s as simple as that.
“We’ll keep going no matter what, fighting for every point and result until it’s all over and the final whistle is blown after the last game of the season. That’s the way I’m built and the way my players apply themselves.
“We have two difficult games that we have to win, we know that, along with some help from the games around us. We’ll work flat out this next two weeks, trying to win both games - not sitting back and feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve got the goal in front of us of trying to reach thirty six points and can achieve that if we perform over the next two games.
“We’ve got to give it everything and have to find a way of getting the mentality right to get two wins. The good thing is that we have good, strong characters in our dressing room. When my players were 4-0 down against Sunderland, no-one was giving up.
“The fans who travelled up such a long way were once again fantastic, which we all very much appreciate. We were all frustrated not to be able to give them something to enjoy for the long trip home. To them and to every Cardiff City supporter we promise that we’ll give it everything we have for them over the next two games, starting with the match in Newcastle.”