view was that it was a soft decision, but had sympathy with Howard Webb’s real-time judgement call under pressure.Ole Gunnar Solskjær’sAfter a season long wait, penalties were the hot topic at Cardiff City Stadium on an Easter Saturday afternoon that saw one awarded for each side either side of the half time interval. Having seen replays of Peter Odemwingie’s fall just before the break,
The Bluebirds manager also admitted that the sense of injustice towards Stoke City’s opener helped to further motivate his troops to respond in the second half. Fraizer Campbell was felled five minutes after the restart, with ice-cool Peter Whittingham converting in similar style to level the scores.
“I don't think it was a penalty, but Howard Webb has to make a decision there and then,” Ole said of the Stoke award. “He doesn't have the replays that we do.
“It galvanised everyone in the dressing room. We felt hard done by; we had to control our emotions, which is important when you have decisions like that go against you, because you can’t change the referee's mind.
“We used it to gain some momentum, gain some energy. The way we came out in the second half and put them under pressure, it got the goal and got the crowd going. They were fantastic once again - some of my pals told me that they had never heard such noise in a football stadium! It was just what we wanted.”
City managed to convert again minutes after Whittingham's equaliser through Juan Cala, only for the linesman's flag to rule out the goal.
“It was offside” Ole quickly confirmed, who believes five or six points could well be enough to stay safe this season. “Two wins would be enough but you never know in this league. We're two points behind Norwich and we have to have one more win than them in the last three.
“We need to finish on more points than Sunderland and Fulham. We still believe in the Easter miracle – we are raising ourselves from the dead. We need two very good performances in the next two games to give ourselves a chance.”
Solskjær confirmed Craig Bellamy's absence due to a virus; the winger returning to training on Monday whilst the nineteen-year-old Norwegian Mats Dæhli once again lit up the left side with his exceptional talent.
“He’s proving time and time again that he is worthy of a place in the team. He gets you on the edge of your seat, he does the difficult things at times and is fantastic at playing simple when required. I think Mats has done fantastically since coming in.”
Stoke had a chance to put the game to bed through Assaidi at the death, David Marshall instrumental once again in keeping his side in the game.
“The first seventy-five, eighty minutes I thought we deserved more than a draw,” Ole said. “Towards the end though you might say we didn't deserve anything. We have a top, top goalkeeper and he saved a point for us. Marshy saved and it should have been a goal - We thank him again. He has just signed a contract and we are going to make sure he doesn't have the option of going down - we have three games to rescue the season.”