Cardiff must earn forgiveness after derby defeat - boss Neil Warnock

By Michael PearlmanBBC Sport Wales
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock shows his frustration during their defeat away to rivals Swansea
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock shows his frustration during their defeat away to rivals Swansea

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock says his players must earn the forgiveness of angry Bluebirds supporters.

Warnock admits his team let themselves down in last Sunday's one-sided 1-0 Championship defeat at Swansea City.

The 70-year-old also says he got his tactics "totally wrong" at the Liberty Stadium in playing a 4-4-2 formation.

"It was a really poor performance. The fans won't forget but we've got to make sure they forgive by going on another run," he told BBC Sport Wales.

Warnock, whose side host Birmingham City in the league on Saturday, admits this is the most scrutiny he has faced from Cardiff supporters since he took charge in October 2016.

"We've had criticism before, but it's not like losing against your local rivals playing the way we did," he added.

"Whoever you are you won't come away without criticism and quite rightly so, that's what the fans pay their money for.

"We have to accept it. I have always been straight with the fans and we have to hold our hands up and say 'we were poor', we've got to get better.

"We've lost two in 12 games, but I feel like there are four draws we could have won and that would have been eight more points.

"It is disappointing, but that's life, we just have to get on with it. I know the fans can't forget what happened at Swansea but I hope they can forgive us because we haven't let them down very often in the three years I have been here.

"Hopefully the fans will get behind us again. We are a fighting team, that's how we are."

Dejected Cardiff players reflect on their loss at arch-rivals Swansea
Dejected Cardiff players reflect on their loss at arch-rivals Swansea

Warnock did not agree with the notion that his team are lacking in fitness and intensity compared to previous seasons, another criticism after Ben Wimot's goal gave Swansea the local bragging rights in a game where Cardiff never seemed to get going.

However, he did accept that on the day Swansea boss Steve Cooper got the better of him.

"I don't accept that about the fitness and intensity, I think it's that when you've got a system that isn't working and in midfield you are going up against an extra man, even when we got the ball we couldn't pass it," Warnock said.

"You are going to lose it and be up against it the amount we lost the ball. I can't keep dwelling on it, we have no time to feel sorry ourselves ahead of two big home games.

"The formation, we talk about fan expectation and what have you, but I went with an extra striker to try and be positive and it had the exact opposite effect of what we wanted.

"I thought it would be the best way and it wasn't, we got outnumbered and outpassed in midfield."

Some pundits 'waiting for that'

The veteran boss has said this will be his last season in management, but does not believe he is under increased pressure after the derby defeat.

"I don't think you can worry as a manager, you've just got to get on with the next game. I am not worried, I am just disappointed we let the fans down as they are who you want to please. I'd have felt the same as them if I had watched the game on Sunday."

Warnock has faced criticism from pundits as well as supporters, with ex-Bluebird and Wales international Danny Gabbidon saying that Warnock should be getting a tougher scrutiny from the media for performances this season.

"Danny is probably disappointed I am popular, they are going to make comments though aren't they? That is what they get paid for," Warnock responded.

"I think some pundits wait for a performance like that.

"I will be interested what happens at Cardiff City over the next five years and what the comments will be like then. I will enjoy watching from afar."

Warnock was sympathetic towards captain Sean Morrison, whose partner says she received social media abuse after the Bluebirds' defeat to their arch-rivals.

"I think social media, if you are involved, you have to take the good with the bad really," he said.

"I don't get involved. Can you imagine if I were on social media? It is a platform where people can get away with murder and I don't think that should be allowed, I think there should be some sort of governance really.

"When you are on there you will have good and bad days. But I wish none of my lads were on social media."

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