Mick McCarthy: Cardiff City held off competition to keep new manager

Manager Mick McCarthy has put the smiles back on the faces of Cardiff players and fans alike
Manager Mick McCarthy has put the smiles back on the faces of Cardiff players and fans alike

Cardiff City manager Mick McCarthy signed a new two-year contract with the Championship side despite competition for his signature from other clubs.

The 62-year-old former Republic of Ireland boss re-signed this week having joined initially in January on a deal until the end of season.

Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman said McCarthy had earned his new deal.

"Clearly the manager and the players have bonded somehow and he's getting the best out of the team," Dalman said.

"I said in last summer's transfer window this team is good enough to be in the top six by January, and it's good to be able to see that the quality of the team is beginning to show what they can do."

McCarthy has guided Cardiff to seven wins and three draws in his 10 games in charge since taking over from Neil Harris.

The Bluebirds have risen from 15th to eighth and sit two points off the Championship play-offs ahead of Friday night's trip to Huddersfield Town - which will be McCarthy's 1000th game as a manager.

That upturn in fortunes saw Cardiff contacted by an unnamed club about McCarthy's future availability, an enquiry that Dalman politely rebuffed.

Media speculation had linked McCarthy with the vacant job at Scottish giants Celtic, among others.

"I know he did (catch the eye of other clubs). I wasn't too worried," Dalman told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.

"Yes, approaches were made but it's just nice and refreshing to know there's still some gentlemanly behaviour in the game today.

"When a club rings another club and says 'look, we have an interest in your manager, can we talk to him?' and I said 'no, I don't think that's a good idea because he's here with us and will remain with us' and they say 'okay, thanks very much, we'll respect your decision'. I think that's healthy for the game.

"Just looking at how the team has been since he came, in we were always going to do that (offer a new contract).

"But obviously the last thing we wanted to do was leave it with uncertainty, because in the recruitment process the manager needs to know he has the ability himself to be able to attract quality players to come to our club.

"So it was a very sensible and natural decision, I don't think it was a dramatic decision."

Play-offs beckon?

Although Cardiff's spectacular run under McCarthy has increased promotion expectations among fans, Dalman says claiming even a play-off berth would be a bonus after their early-season struggles.

"I still think we can make the top six but I don't think it's as easy as it should have been, so... it's more hope than expectation," he said.

"We don't want to be too demanding on the team at the moment, they need to be released from that and if we get there it'll be wonderful, and if we don't we go again next year.

"This league need experienced managers and one thing Mick has is experience.

"I don't think we should plan as if we're going to get promoted, that would be presumptuous. Let's see how the next three or four games go and then we may have another discussion about that.

"We just need to support the team and the manager, and I'm delighted he wanted to stay - he had no doubts in signing his contract, which shows his enthusiasm and love for the club."

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