Ole Gunnar Solskjær acknowledged the attacking prowess of returning Manchester United striker Robin van Persie following the away defeat at Manchester United on Tuesday night, with the City boss wanting to see a similar return in the months ahead to add to the good work being done by his squad.
“It’s hard when you concede a goal within the first five or six minutes,” the Cardiff City manager admitted after the match. “Robin van Persie’s goal was a proper goalscorer’s goal, he headed it three times in a row, which showed how much he wanted to score. It was really what we lacked, that oomph.
“After that it becomes a very hard game for us. We contained them and we played better, but we didn’t really have the urgency and threat to create the big chances we were looking for.
“We did well in the second half and sent our fullback’s forward. Young Declan had a great run there and we had a great cross (from Kevin McNaughton) which flashed across the line. We did cause them some problems, but we just didn’t have enough.”
Despite the result, Ole was proud of the character shown by his squad, in particular against the current Premier League champions, saying, “There are a great set of players here. Their attitude to work is great, while you could see here at Old Trafford, that after the early blow and the goal against, they still went at it and kept the ball really well.
“We didn’t bottle it, we kept nice possession, but in the last third we need to add some speed to up the tempo. With the new players coming in, that can add to our strengths in the final third.
“These lads never capitulate. They never give up and have a great attitude. Their work-rate in training is fantastic. We’re now a month into it, having seen each other and being able to learn from each other. Now we have next month, which is going to be a great month for us, hopefully.
“We probably need another eighteen points, taking us to thirty six to stay up, so we have to target our home games. We need points. Today we’ve come away with a good performance, but we’ve got nothing for it.”
Finally, the former Old Trafford striker couldn’t escape without questions on a competitive return to his old stomping ground, which he answered by saying, “I was honoured by the reception I had walking out, but I was working for Cardiff City, focussed on trying to make the most of it.
“I’ve been here for fifteen years in the other dressing room. It was a bit tight and more crowded in this one! The rest of it was a normal game of football.
“You expect a decent response and reception because I've always had a great relationship with the fans. It was fantastic but I'm hoping to have the same relationship with the Cardiff supporters and they were fantastic.
“I kept hearing them singing and we kept the United crowd quiet, so that was a sign of a good overall performance by my team. I've seen the team develop over the last month but now is the time to get points with the situation we're in. We need points not performances."
WATCH OLE, PETER WHITTINGHAM, DAVID MOYES AND JUAN MATA'S REACTION ON THE GAME ON YOUTUBE, BELOW