‘Sneaking up behind’ – Mick McCarthy hints at Cardiff City targets this season
Cardiff City moved into the top half of the Championship with victory at Rotherham United on Tuesday night – but manager Mick McCarthy is setting his sights higher.
The Bluebirds are unbeaten since experienced boss McCarthy took the helm last month, taking 10 points from four matches.
After starting with draws against Barnsley and Millwall, he earned his first victory at Bristol City last weekend.
And Cardiff made it two on the bounce with a hard-fought midweek victory at Rotherham, in a match that finished under a blanket of snow at a freezing New York Stadium.
Despite being under pressure for most of the first half, they led at the break when Sheyi Ojo opened the scoring via a counter.
Matt Crooks pegged them back but, as the snow descended in South Yorkshire, Joe Bennett was left unmarked to head in a Josh Murphy cross and bag his side another three-point haul on the road.
It was anything but a comfortable victory, but the style in which it was ground it suited McCarthy down to the ground and he was as delighted as might be expected.
“They’re all hard-earned wins,” he told The72 after the match. “Some just seem to be harder than others because of the nature of the game. The conditions weren’t great and we had to fight fire with fire with free-kicks, throw-ins, corners.
“We had to play for seconds, it was that kind of a game and I thought the lads handled it really well.
“I am bitterly disappointed with the goal we conceded. But the two goals we got were very good ones.
“I am really delighted with the performance. It was hard work.”
When Cardiff dismissed Neil Harris last month, on the back of a six-match losing run in all competitions, they were down in 15th place in the standings and 13 points off the top six.
Having reached the play-offs last season when Harris took charge mid-season and sparked a revival, better was expected from the Bluebirds this campaign.
The victory at Rotherham has taken them up to 11th, eight points off those play-off spots, and McCarthy is happy for his side to be looking up rather than down.
“With the quality that we have in the squad we should be sneaking up behind those in front of us rather than looking behind,” he said.
“I think (the players) believe that. In this league you are not allowed to show that quality unless you win the scrap first.
“You have to make sure you’re not getting beaten or caught on the break. You have to be purposeful and then you will get your chances.”