Malky Mackay's play-off rallying cry to Cardiff City

Malky Mackay insists Cardiff City do not have a "Carling Cup final hangover" as he promised to give their Championship play-off push "a real go".

The Bluebirds slipped out of the play-off places for the first time since November on Sunday by losing 2-0 at home to West Ham United.

Cardiff's worst run of the season has come either side of a Carling Cup final penalty shootout defeat to Liverpool.

But Cardiff boss Mackay said: "There's certainly no hangover."

The Hammers inflicted the Welsh side's fourth home defeat of the season and Mackay's men slipped to eighth place after four Championship losses in their last five games.

Cardiff's defeat began a schedule of eight games in 27 days. Their next two matches are away at play-off rivals Brighton and Hove Albion and struggling Bristol City, before welcoming ninth-placed Hull on 13 March.

The Bluebirds must also travel to fellow promotion chasers Birmingham and Middlesbrough in their bid to qualify for their third end-of-season play-offs in three seasons.

Cardiff fans fear their Wembley exploits and brave 120-minute performance to hold Premier League giants Liverpool, before losing on penalties, could have a detrimental impact on their league campaign.

Mackay is suffering his worst run as Cardiff boss since replacing Dave Jones in July 2011.

"We didn't have everyone back in after the Carling Cup until Friday because some players were away on international duty and we gave the others a break," pointed out Mackay after their West Ham defeat.

"Questions will be asked about the final and is there a hangover? But we are focused.

"We have tough games ahead, but with 13 games to go and there is still plenty to play for, we're not going out with a whimper and we're going to have a real go.

"We must pick ourselves back up, but we were playing against a good team against West Ham.

"They are an experienced team and with maybe three times the budget of most teams in this division."

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