City squad relishing the challenge, insists the Boss
Ole Gunnar Solskjær was in buoyant mood ahead of the Bluebirds trip to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, Cardiff’s first visit to the Manchester club in 29 years.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have claimed plenty of plaudits with a scintillating run of form that has seen them win all ten of their league encounters at Eastlands so far this season, with six straight league victories putting them within a point of current league leaders Arsenal.
The Citizens have reason to be wary of Cardiff following August’s stunning 3-2 victory of course, one of just four defeats for the title challengers in the league this campaign. Manager Solskjær insists his side are ready to push their opponents once again.
“Bigger surprises have happened in football,” said Ole in his pre-match press conference at the Vale Resort. “You don’t just go there to get beat, we’ve got our own standards to live up to as well.
“I think we’re relishing the challenge. When you go to places like the Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford like we’ve got in our next two away games, you’re going to be tested. You’re up against some of the best players in the world, never mind Europe.
“We’ve already beaten Manchester City at home, but of course you’ll need to ride your luck and things will have to drop your way at times. You’ve got to go up there with the mindset that you want to have a go and you want to take something from the game - you’ve got to. I’m not here to try and do anything else.”
It’s a game that will see forward Craig Bellamy return to one of his former clubs, with the Cardiff boss pleased to see the 34-year-old back involved for the Bluebirds, coming on as a substitute, in what was an improved second half performance against West Ham United last weekend.
“With Craig it’s all about getting him to full match fitness now,” said Ole. “He’s been training well and mentally he’s in a very good state because he’s back out on the pitch. He’s a big player for us, his experience is vital.
“These games are a big chance for the players and it’s a big chance for us to make a name for ourselves, you just never know.
“You want to play against the best players. We as a group, set our own performance standards - it’s games like this where we get our most serious test and really see where we’re at and what we’ve got to do.
“We’ve got to run more than them and want it more than them. Like our performance against Arsenal, we’re going to have our chances as well.”
WATCH OLE AND CITY'S PETER WHITTINGHAM GIVE THEIR PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS ON YOUTUBE BELOW