City boss looking forward to good test v Athletic Club
CITY boss Malky Mackay has been meticulous in his planning of the Bluebirds’ Premier League preparations; groundwork which is set to be finalised tomorrow with arguably City’s toughest test yet.
La Liga’s Athletic Club de Bilbao come to Cardiff City Stadium tomorrow to offer the Bluebirds the perfect test with their Premier League opener against West Ham United at Upton Park now just over a week away.
Speaking to the press at the Vale Resort this morning, Malky Mackay made one thing certain - City will be ready for the season opener against the Hammers.
“Saturday is going to be a tough but good test for us; it’s what we planned,” said Mackay. “We structured this pre-season in a certain way in terms of the build-up of the games and this one was always going to test us the most.
“Without a doubt tomorrow Athletic Club bring the toughest test of pre-season so far. Europa League finalists recently, anyone that watched them play against Manchester United at Old Trafford in that run would’ve seen an excellent side that night.
“We’re looking forward to it; it’ll be a good test leading into the West Ham game next week.”
And the City Manager is certainly aware of the Premier League task ahead, with his side set to come up against some of the strongest clubs and players in the world this coming season – nonetheless, he is confident that his squad can more than rise to the levels held by their more established opponents.
“It’s going to be very competitive,” said Mackay. “I’m under no illusions of the difficulty of the task ahead but a lot of the Premier League teams will feel exactly the same way on day one.
“We certainly deserve to be in this league on merit. In terms of the team that went up and the confidence of the group that won the Championship and won it well; we absolutely deserve to be here.
“Certainly ourselves and myself, we go into it looking to be competitive. We’ll go and look to compete with every team we come up against next season. Every team looks to finish as high up that league as is possible.
“I think if you look at it like that, then you go into it positively and you see where you end up. For the football club to be in the Premier League in a year’s time though will be a huge achievement.”
City have already added to their squad with the arrivals of Andreas Cornelius, Steven Caulker, John Brayford and Simon Moore this summer, but Mackay confirmed to the gathering press that City were likely to miss out on target Etienne Capoue.
“Capoue; we’ve had a bid accepted. I can talk about that one but it looks like, as far as I’m aware, that he’ll be going to Spurs,” said Mackay, “Other than that I don’t talk about players who are contracted to other football clubs.”
But Malky insists that the work continues to add to his squad before the transfer deadline, saying: “We are still looking to strengthen. I need a fuller squad than I’ve got at the moment. If I wasn’t looking to strengthen then that’d suggest I’d be settled with the squad going into it.
“It’s not any more difficult than last year and the year before, trying to get targets that you want. Invariably the targets that we want we have competition for and that was the same last year. We signed five in the last week last year, and I’ve brought over 25 players into the football club now in the last two years. We’re pretty well versed in how the mechanics of this works and how you have to have patience in these matters some times.
“Sometimes deals happen quickly, like the Steven Caulker deal and the Andreas Cornelius one in many respects, but sometimes they can be more protracted and patience is needed on all sides.
“It’ll all depend on the situations were in. We’ve got plates spinning at the moment and if it takes until the final day of the transfer window then that’s how long it’ll take.”