Ole looks to build on recent form at Stadium of LightAhead of tomorrow’s crucial match against fellow relegation battlers Sunderland, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated it could be a case of winner takes all in a potentially season defining game.
Following the impressive 1-0 win against Southampton in their last away trip, City drew against Stoke City last week ahead of Sunday's match that could prove extremely crucial in their quest for survival.
“If you look at the league table, it’s just as important for both teams and will give one of us a great opportunity ahead of the final two games,” Ole said. “It’s still so tight down at the bottom and a win is hugely needed for both of us. A draw is probably no good. I can’t wait for it.
“Normally, at this stage in the season, one team would be cut adrift at the bottom but this season is different and it’s so tight at the bottom. You expect it to go down to the wire.”
Last week’s stalemate against the Potters capped an impressive recent run of form for the Bluebirds which has seen Ole’s men pick up one defeat in their last four games, their best run this year.
The Cardiff boss has taken great strength from that statistic and will travel to the Stadium of Light in confident mood, saying: “The last few weeks have boosted all the players. We’ve got some fresh legs and fresh minds,” said Ole. “We’re going into this game on form which is a big thing and we’re fully focused as we’ve prepared well.”
Tomorrow’s opponents are in a similarly good run of form having beaten Chelsea and drew with Manchester City in their last two games. Because of those results, Ole is quite happy for people to rate Sunderland as favourites going into the match, saying, “Let people write us. We have prepared right and believe we’ll get the job done.
“It’s all about us performing as we know we can like we did against Southampton and Stoke, apart from the last 10 minutes when we went for it too much. The match is being built up and it is a massive game.”
In his press conference on Friday, Cardiff stalwart, Peter Whittingham praised Ole’s managerial techniques, picking out the calming influence he has on the team. When responding to those comments, Ole said: “At half time against Stoke, everyone was so incensed and felt hard done so I had to calm them down.
“We can only control ourselves and I am looking at the team all the time, finding different ways of motivating them. It’s a case of looking them in the eyes and seeing who needs what.”
While Whitts’ experience might prove crucial in the run-in, Ole has also received a boost in the shape of another Cardiff veteran. With no fresh injury worries, Craig Bellamy is set to return to the fray,
When talking about Bellamy and his side’s survival hopes, he said: “Craig is massively important for us in games like us and he’ll be involved, whether it’s from the start or the bench.
“The players believe we can stay up. It’s our first time in this league for 51 years so you can’t expect us to go straight into mid-table.
“With three games to go we’re within two points of Norwich and I think it’s a situation everyone would have taken at the start of the season.”