Solskjaer: Bellamy will be key
Published 12/01/2014 | 13:42
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes fit-again Craig Bellamy can have a big impact on Cardiff's battle against relegation.
The 34-year-old striker made his first appearance for two months as a substitute in the Bluebirds' 2-0 home defeat at the hands of West Ham on Saturday.
The result saw the Hammers move out of the relegation zone at the expense of the Welsh club and Solskjaer admitted he was surprised by a flat first-half display from his side.
It was Bellamy who proved the catalyst for a better second half, creating clear chances for Mark Hudson and Fraizer Campbell within minutes of his introduction.
And Solskjaer, who hopes to convince the former Wales forward to extend his playing career beyond the summer, believes Bellamy's experience will be vital for Cardiff during the second half of the season.
"He can make a big difference for the fans and the team," said Solskjaer. "You could hear how much the fans want him in the team, and I want him in my team as he is a player who has had the experience of playing in the Premier League at the top and the bottom. He has been around and I was delighted with his 45 minutes."
Another man to feature as a substitute was Magnus Wolff Eikrem, as the Norway international made his debut following his arrival from Heerenveen.
"I think he did well, he made some good tackles and passes," said Solskjaer. "He had time on the ball, he had a couple of shots so he will be fine."
And Solskjaer, who also added Molde midfielder Mats Moller Daehli to his squad on Saturday, feels there is no need to worry despite Cardiff occupying one of the bottom three places in the table for the first time this season.
"There is no panic, I did not expect this to be all singing and dancing, it won't be easy, this is the Premier League and there is lots of work to be one.
"We have only had a week and we know we have plenty of work to do. It's a great bunch of lads, we will get going again and work hard in training.
"It is a tight league, there are six points from the bottom to 10th."
West Ham's win, courtesy of goals from Carlton Cole and Mark Noble, was just their second in 14 league games.
Assistant manager Neil McDonald hopes the return of some players from injury and the confidence boost of victory can spur the Hammers to another good result against Newcastle next weekend.
"When you are getting beat you are not full of confidence but when you win it gives you that confidence," he said.
"The major factor is that we have got people coming back from injury and that is going to make the squad stronger. We have had Andy Carroll and James Tomkins coming back and hopefully we will have another couple coming back.
"When you come into a changing room and you have been beaten over the last week against Nottingham Forest and Manchester City the players are down and feeling a little bit sorry for themselves.
"They were hurting as they knew they were going to get criticised but when you win and play well and are put under pressure from free-kicks and corners the team shape was good.
"We kept our shape and opened them up twice so hopefully that will give the players a little bit more confidence to kick on for the next game."