The Bluebirds recorded a hard-fought Sky Bet Championship victory over Middlesbrough at Cardiff City Stadium. It was a close contest with not much to choose between the two teams, but City finally broke through as a late George Friend own goal gave them all three points.
The City manager was keen to stress the significance of victory against a fellow promotion contender, off the back of consecutive battling away draws.
“It’s three points against a very good side that we know will be up there,” Russell began. “They were always going to be a yardstick for us, so to take three points off one of your rivals is vital.
“We had another clean sheet and I thought we were disciplined and organised. When two teams are well-matched like that and trying to probe to find little openings, it means the game is going to be edgy and tight.
“Matches can be won on very small details and that was the case today. There has to be a special word for Whitts too. I put him in a narrow position on the left hand side and I thought he did really well.
“It was an important win for us. It sets us up well as we obviously have another huge game against Bristol City on Monday. We need to focus on that now and ensure that we back this result up with another good performance.”
FURTHER REACTION FROM RUSSELL SLADE, LEE PELTIER & AITOR KARANKA CAN BE FOUND BELOW