On Saturday Cardiff City dug in deep to grab a vital three points away at Southampton, as they put a week marred with turmoil behind them.
For most of the this week, owner Vincent Tan has been busy disciplining his own staff for allegedly leaking team tactics to Crystal Palace in the Bluebirds’ 3-0 defeat last weekend. At St. Mary’s Cardiff were second best for much of the game but they hung on and Juan Cala came up with the game-winner midway through the second half to bag three crucial points.
Now just three points from safety with four games to go, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side have given themselves a real chance of beating the drop. With Fulham beating Norwich and West Brom throwing away another 3-0 lead, the gap between the bottom three and those outside has shrunk considerably.
Speaking to the BBC after the game, Solksjaer believes the events earlier in the week has helped his side and his hopeful his team can build on just their second away win of the season.
“Sometimes when things happen in football it galvanizes everyone. The team spirit has been fantastic. We were really hurt by performance last week against Crystal Palace. We’ve come here and held our own and towards the end we could have had a couple more goals. I was proud of the effort everyone put in. Today, no matter what would have happened in the last five minutes I would have been proud. Another few clean sheets and we are right in it. We won’t give in until it is over. We don’t expect to win all of our games but we can win a few of them.”
What Cardiff’s Norwegian boss is alluding to at the start of his comments is perhaps the most telling, as the team spirit at Cardiff hasn’t faltered despite testing times on and off the field. That kind of belief and togetherness is vital in the relegation scrap and Cardiff seem to have it in abundance.
You could see that with the way they knuckled down and beat Saints on Saturday.
Now the South Wales side have four games to save themselves. The next three are crucial as they play Stoke City at home, then travel to Sunderland and Newcastle. The Bluebirds then finish the season by hosting Chelsea and they will be hoping that by the time Jose Mourinho’s men roll into town, Cardiff will still be battling to survive in their rookie PL campaign.
It ain’t over until it’s over.