Addressing the media in his post-match press conference, City boss Russell Slade was pragmatic and honest in his assessment of today’s events as Cardiff City fell to Brentford, the final score 3-2.
“It’s frustrating,” he admitted. “A lack of consistency is annoying – similar to last week, we gave ourselves an awful mountain to climb. We need to be ruthless in both boxes, clearing and closing down. Sometimes it’s difficult to stop a shot; the third strike was excellent but we should be getting a body in the way. We need consistency and we need to care for ninety minutes.
“The second forty-five was great but we were three-nil down by that point. We created twenty-four opportunities to their twelve – we are making chances but we need to do better in both boxes.
“We can’t do it for just forty-five; we can’t do it for half an hour. It has to be for ninety minutes. That’s consistency – that’s the recipe that’s going to get us where we need to be. We looked a good side in the second period but we didn’t look like a unit in the first.”
Though it was a difficult first half, efforts to get back into the game were lauded by Russell as City displayed battling resolve to put things right in the second period.
“We were exploited because we didn’t defend well as a team. I can only apologise for the first half – I am as frustrated as the fans. We have got ourselves in a situation that isn’t helping anybody but there is two ways you can go at half-time. You’re knocked down, you’re on one knee but it’s all about a response to get back up and fight. They are the type of characters you want in your changing room -they are the type of people I want around me.
“The group cares. You saw the second half as an example if you needed evidence but it has to be more consistent. For all the fight-back last week and this week we’ve picked up zero points, and that is what matters.”
Cardiff City came close to gaining reward for their efforts with Craig Noone and substitute Kenwyne Jones cutting the deficit to a single goal. Wide midfielder Kadeem Harris impressed on his first league start, with Russell acknowledging his hard work and assist: “The refreshing thing about Kadeem is his positivity - he wants to go past people and he put a great cross in for Noone’s goal. I shifted him in behind the two strikers and he was still an absolute menace there as well so I’m really pleased with him - he needs to build on that performance.”
The Bluebirds will now work toward two matches in three days over Christmas - a trip to Charlton on Boxing Day followed by Watford’s visit to Cardiff City Stadium.
“The beauty is that there is always another game, particularly over the Christmas period. I’ll be honest with my frustration at the progress we have made - we were keeping clean sheets 180 minutes ago and now we’ve conceded eight goals in two games. The positive side is that we’ve scored five.
“We need grafters but we also need ability. Sometimes it’s not just a footballer or an athlete you want beside you, sometimes it’s a warrior. We need to roll our sleeves up - we showed the warrior spirit second half but it’s about getting the balance.
“I actually thought we started well in the first ten minutes and Brentford grabbed their first against the run of play. But for the next thirty we were far too exposed, the distances between our back four and our midfield were too great.
“We can be relentless but we are not doing it consistently, for ninety minutes like the teams that know each other well. When I picked up the team they were seventeenth and drained of confidence. We are trying to fix that but along that journey there will be sideward steps before we can progress again.”