Cardiff City 0 Southampton 3
Three goals in 13 first-half minutes not only ended Southampton’s six-match wait for a Premier League win but left Cardiff manager Malky Mackay wondering whether he would still be in charge come tomorrow’s game against Sunderland.
The likelihood is no considering he is understood to have a meeting planned with billionaire owner Vincent Tan tomorrow morning. Unless Tan had his eyes closed as Cardiff shipped three soft goals against a Saints’ side who might have had half a dozen had they have shown greater desire in the second half, the 41-year-old Scot is likely to disappear the same way as so many others.
Jay Rodriguez, with two far post goals and Ricky Lambert with a precision finish from a Callum Chambers cross, was enough to seal all three points. No excuses from Mackay, who did at least witness his side rally after the interval. Sadly, it was too late by then and the Saints left the Welsh capital with a first win in seven.
Mackay said; “I thought we gave away three really poor goals and we can’t do that against a good team. It was unlike us in terms of the quality of the goals we lost.
“We had a great chance just a couple for minutes before the first goal where (Craig) Noone puts a great ball into the back post and Peter Whittingham nine times out of ten would score.
“Within five minutes, they go and do something similar. We can’t give ourselves a mountain to climb in games. In the second half, we came back into it and pressed them back and made more of a game of it. But we can’t give cheap goals away.
“I’m certainly not going to make any excuses at all. Myself, the staff and the players are fully focussed on what we do on a Saturday or any given game day.”
Mackay wouldn’t confirm tomorrow’s meeting but said; “I’ve not been told of any meeting. I don’t usually talk to him on a game day. That’s not something that normally happens. I usually speak to other people. I was informed we would try to have a meeting, but there has been nothing to this point.”
Saints were in front in the 14th minute when Morgan Schneiderlin picked out the irrepressible Adam Lallana on the right and the England midfielder crossed for Rodriguez to convert at the far post.
It was 2-0, six minutes later. Lambert had acres of space in which to measure the perfect cross to Rodriguez who volleyed past David Marshall. Lambert then turned scorer in the 27th minute as he swivelled and beat Marshall with ease.
Mauricio Pocchetino said; “Overall we did very well. We were precise in their half and put in an amazing shift. We fully deserved the win.
“I think in previous games recently, we have played well, but have not got the results. I think we have been though a tough period in terms of illness and injuries too.”
Cardiff introduced £8million Dane Andreas Cornelius at the interval, but not even his presence alongside Fraizer Campbell could provide the goal the home faithful yearned for.
The Saints fans continued to taunt Mackay, suggesting the Scot will be ‘Sacked in the morning’. Unlikely as it sounds, considering Tan and Mackay have yet to speak, but after what has befallen the club in recent weeks, nothing would surprise any one of the 27,000 plus who witnessed this one-sided affair.
No real concerns for Pocchetino although with the window almost open, the form of one or two of his best players is likely to attract plenty of attention.
He said; “I think Adam and other players are going to stay with us. We are under no pressure to sell them. Adam said he is happy at Southampton and Southampton have no plans to sell him.”
CARDIFF CITY (4-1-4-1): Marshall 6; Théophile-Catherine 4, Caulker 5, Turner 4, Taylor 4 (John 61,4); Gunnarsson 4 (Kim 79,5); Noone 6, Whittingham 5, Mutch 5, Odemwingie 4 (Cornelius 45,5); Campbell 6
SOUTHAMPTON (4-4-1-1) Gazzaniga 6; Chambers 6, Yoshida 6, Fonte 6, Shaw 6; Cork 7, Schneiderlin 7, Davis 7, Rodriguez 8 (Ramirez 85,6); Lallana 9 (Ward-Prowse 79,6); Lambert 8 (Gallagher 90,6)
Referee: A Marriner.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved