Wednesday 21 February 2018

Battling drop same as going for the title – Solskjaer

Southampton 0 Cardiff City 1

Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga punches clear from the head of Cardiff's Fraizer Campbell
Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga punches clear from the head of Cardiff's Fraizer Campbell
Juan Cala scores the winner for Cardiff against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium
Southampton's Calum Chambers takes on Cardiff City's Mats Moller Daehli
Southampton's Luke Shaw in action against Cardiff City's Juan Cala
Cardiff's Wilfred Zaha runs at Southampton's Dejan Lovren
Southampton's Jose Fonte and Cardiff City's Fraizer Campbell battle for the ball

Tom Prentki

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes he can use his experience as a Manchester United player to keep Cardiff in the Premier League.

The Norwegian won the division six times with United and has a chance of preventing his new club from falling out of it after a spirited win at Southampton on Saturday.

"It's a different situation but you prepare during the week and you perform on the day," said Solskjaer. "That's all that matters. It doesn't matter if you've got to beat Liverpool to win the league or if you need a result against Southampton to stay in the league."

This was a contest dominated by the Saints but the decisive moment came when defender Juan Cala executed a chance midway through the second half.

It meant that a week shrouded in turmoil ended in triumph though Solskjaer concedes that the controversy surrounding leaked team news ahead of last week's defeat to Crystal Palace led to sleepless nights.

"We have to deal with that as a club," he said. "You need to get the organisation right, on and off the pitch. That's just management."

The game plan at St Mary's was to sit deep and frustrate Southampton and, aided by a series of impressive stops from David Marshall in the second half, it worked.

"It was an unbelievable win," declared Peter Whittingham, whose free-kick led to Cala's goal. "We were hanging on at the end but it was always going to be tough."

Whittingham described fans' criticism of the home loss to Palace as "justified" and shrugged off the off-field issues facing the club: "It's nothing to do with us. It's all upstairs with what's going on."

Wilfried Zaha's diligent chasing in the latter stages embodied the united spirit of Cardiff here.

"I might just have to make them mad about something," joked Solskjaer of the rest of the season. "Because the focus we had today is what we need every single week." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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