Cardiff City right-back John Brayford talked about making the right-back spot his own in his pre-Millwall press conference.
The former Derby defender has this season become a first-team regular at Cardiff City Stadium. Now, with the Bluebirds challenging the Sky Bet Championship’s top six, Brayford outlined the importance of team unity in the squad, as this season’s back four look more and more impressive with each passing game.
“Two games is not a lot in this league, so we need to press on and continue that over the next five or six games,” he said. “The back four have got to know each other better as the season goes on, as well as Marshy [David Marshall] behind us, but it also helps when you have lads in front of us working just as hard to protect us.
“[Bruno Ecuele Manga] will usually let me go forward because he’s more than capable of covering ground, he’s very athletic. He’s trying hard with his English, and he’s been brilliant since he’s been here. He’s a really nice guy. To be honest I didn’t really know much about him before he came here, but I think he’s stamped his authority on the team. He’s done his best for the team and that’s really shone through.
“I’ve been settled here more this season, because of course it’s gone much better for me personally this year. I had to be mentally tough to cope with not being involved last year, but I did enjoy going to Sheffield United to get back to playing my football, but I always knew that I was coming back to Cardiff, where it was up to me to try and force my way into the team.
“That’s just the way football works – sometimes things don’t work out, sometimes they do. Frustration probably sums it up, but sometimes things happen. I just want to play football, and I’ve been desperate to do that here. When you buy something for a lot of money you expect to see it, and I couldn’t do anything about that, but it’s been much better this year. It helps having a good squad around you.”
John ended by describing the effect of the arrival of new manager Russell Slade, which coincided with the Bluebirds’ recent upturn in form.
“Things have been simplified, that’s a good way of summing it up,” he said. “Every game is eleven versus eleven in the Championship, so at Millwall we will be playing the eleven, not the environment.
“We’ve got to take a stand and push on from these two wins. Consistency is a big thing in this league, because a lot of teams have been winning one, drawing one and then losing one. We need to put some results together now.
“We didn’t have the best of starts but now we’re only three points off the play-offs, so that shows how tight this league is. We’ll get to around Christmas-time, assess it again and then push on in the New Year. The aim is to get back to the Premier League, and the Club is more than capable of getting there.
“This league is about commitment, we need to show heart and soul in the team. We’ve always had the belief that we could do well, and over the last couple of results we’ve seen a bit of a turnaround. We’ve changed formation and gone back to the 4-4-2 which everybody knows, and that’s working for us, so I can’t see us changing that anytime soon.”