Ole Gunnar Solksjær was undoubtedly the happier of the two managers following a crucial victory over fellow survival rivals Fulham on Saturday.
Speaking to the assembled press after the game, he admitted his satisfaction on having claimed maximum points, saying, “Of course today was a big result for us. It was a big game for the two teams and we got out on top.
“We've had many games we felt we deserve something from. You can talk about that as long as you like, but if you don't get results it does something to the minds of the players. A win today – especially the way we did it, the response from the lads – it was fantastic. They never dropped their heads, they went forward and made chances.”
Cardiff City Captain Steven Caulker twice the home side the lead, either side of the Cottagers Lewis Holtby adding pressure by calmly dispatch a Heitinga flick-on to level. The win was rubberstamped thanks to Fulham’s Sacha Riether putting the ball in to his own net, under severe pressure from Jordon Mutch and Fraizer Campbell.
On his captain and his World Cup aspirations, Ole said that club form of the nature of today’s win over Fulham would be the key.
“If he plays like this defensively and chips in with the odd goal he has to be in with a shout,” Ole said. “He’s twenty-two, a leader, talented – and he has had a testing season, because he knew when he came to Cardiff he would be fighting for survival. He could have had the easy life, but he’s a leader and has taken his leadership onto the pitch in absence of Mark Hudson fantastically well.”
Asked if it was his best day at the club with the emphatic victory being the only time Cardiff City have won by more than a single goal this season, Ole responded, saying, “I've really enjoyed every single day here! It means a lot to me, the players, fans – everybody who cares for us felt that it was something we deserved.
“It's not about one result, it’s about a two month examination of their characters. We can't relax, we have to build on this. It's a game where neither of us wanted to come away with three points. It's so tight in the bottom half of the table – there are many teams in it. We've got to stick together to get the points we need.”
The Cardiff City manager then issued a rallying cry, emphasising the need for togetherness in the final nine games of the Premier League season, saying, “It's vital that the club and everyone attached to the club can focus on the matters that happen on the pitch. The players want to focus on the thing they do every single day in training.
“I'm very pleased with what we did today. I'll sleep well tonight, then we'll go again, but know that one result doesn't change the situation we’re in. We know what we have to do and will work hard on achieving our goals.”