Malky Mackay fully acknowledged the impact of the home support at Cardiff City Stadium following a courageous display and win over Middlesbrough.
”“I thought our fans were fantastic, they knew it was a tough game and they knew it was going to be a good team that would come and test us,” he said. “They are beginning to really embrace this winning record and this run. They are enjoying seeing the team playing good football and enjoying seeing the dynamism of some of the players. The fact that the noise they are bringing to the place shows that they know that any team that come here are going to be in a game.
The second successive home win was also hugely welcomed, as Middlesbrough, following fellow promotion chasing Hull City were a tough and problematic opponent.
“Two weeks in a row we have played two very tough teams, Hull and Middlesbrough – today a manager who has just won manager of the month and a team who have been on a real good roll,” Malky acknowledged. “It was always going to be a tough game, which became even tougher when we lost two players after twenty minutes.
“Tonight we were playing well, were in our stride and really looking the part. We then have to bring on young Ben Nugent for his (league) debut, who I thought showed fantastic character and maturity. He really grew into the game. Again we had to put a square peg in a round hole when we had to put Joe Ralls at left back and again down that side the two of them coped really well.
“To have to change players and bring in youngsters like that, and also then change the shape a couple of times, it is probably the worst it has been that way. To show that resilience against a good team, they were going to have their spell, which they had. The last ten, fifteen minutes, despite having the ball I thought we quelled that little period that they had, so I’m delighted with the character of the team. It doesn’t surprise me; it’s what I see every day. It’s lack of ego which does that and that’s what I am more delighted with than anything.
Visitor pressure could have been lessened somewhat if Cardiff City had been awarded a penalty in the second half – a point raised to the City boss on if he thinks the call should have come.
“I don’t think we should have had a penalty, I know we should have had a penalty,” was the reply. “Young Mason’s runs have caused Middlesbrough problems all day, both down the inside left and inside right channels. Bikey tries to body the ball out, Joe goes around him and keeps it in play. There’s no reason for Joe to fall down as he is inside, bearing down on the goal. Bikey catches him, with his arm to start with and then his left foot kicks the back of Joe on his left leg. That makes it 2-0 and I think it finishes the game. At the point at 1-0, a good team are always going to be there or there about. But I was delighted with the fact that we were resilient and we kept a clean sheet at home.”