independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Bluebirds cancel sunshine break

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cancelled the trip after the heavy defeat against Hull

Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has cancelled his players' warm-weather training trip to Abu Dhabi following the 4-0 defeat at home to Hull on Saturday.

The Norwegian had been planning to take the relegation-threatened Bluebirds out to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday to sharpen up ahead of their trip to fifth-placed Tottenham at White Hart Lane in a week's time.

But after watching his charges thrashed by the Tigers, suffering their biggest home defeat since losing 4-0 to Cambridge United in April 2000, Solskjaer confirmed he had changed his mind in favour of some intensive preparation in wintry Wales.

As well as Spurs, 19th-placed Cardiff face the daunting challenges of Liverpool and Everton, as well as a basement scrap with Fulham, in their next four games.

The former Manchester United forward believes "loads of improvement" is needed to get any points from that quartet, "especially inside the two boxes, because you need to score goals to win games in football and not concede soft, easy goals".

He added: "We have to say, first half, they had two attacks (and) scored two goals."

Despite the bitter disappointment of losing so heavily to another bottom-half club - a defeat that leaves the Bluebirds three points and at least nine goals from safety - Solskjaer is confident they can get the five wins in 11 he believes should be enough to survive in the Premier League.

"I still think so," added the former Molde boss.

"We need five wins. We need to find that fifth win that we were hoping was going to be today.

"That means we have to get a win from maybe an away game we didn't expect to. How often have we seen that in the Premier League, that there's a surprise result?

"All you can say is these lads, knowing the character of them; they will roll their sleeves up and work as hard as they can to get the points we need.

"They're never, ever going to lay down and give up. They have been knocked down, but luckily they've not landed face down. They've landed on their back and that way they can look up.

"That's the only way that we're going to get out of this - work hard, work together, stick together and do the right things at the right time. At times, players wanted to do a little bit too much and that's good.

"You want that enthusiasm to want to make a difference and want to make an impression, but do your job. The enthusiasm was there, the effort was there, but the decision-making wasn't the best."

Cardiff had plenty of chances against the Tigers, but for the third Premier League game in a row, they drew a blank.

The visitors were happy to soak up the pressure and repeatedly hit them on the break. A brace from recent signing Nikica Jelavic and goals from Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore - on loan from Spurs - gave Steve Bruce's men their biggest away win in the top flight.

Bruce, who like Solskjaer was a hero at Old Trafford during his playing career, wished his counterpart all the best.

He said: "I'm delighted that somebody like Ole, for a start, has gone into management and if we're not careful - I keep saying this, week in week out - we're going to discourage people like Ole Gunnar.

"He's had a wonderful playing career and wants to stay in the game. He's an enthusiast of the game. You've got to give him time and let him manage.

"That goes for everybody. When you see the ridiculous turnover of managers that we have repeatedly in this country, it's ridiculous, and if we're not careful we're going to turn people away."

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