Neil Warnock has claimed Swansea City fans celebrated their derby victory over Cardiff as if “they had won the World Cup.”
The Bluebirds manager made the observation as he was stressing the importance of Sunday’s Severnside derby at home to Bristol City.
The clash will be Cardiff’s second contest against near neighbours in three matches and Warnock is desperate for his own fans to enjoy some bragging rights after their tepid performance in the 1-0 defeat to the Swans at the Liberty Stadium.
“All the derbies are important,” said Warnock, whose team recovered from their first derby defeat to beat Birmingham City, 4-2, last week.
“You saw what it meant to the Swansea fans – they thought they’d won the World Cup.
“It is the same with us and Bristol City. We want the bragging rights and the lads have been really up for it this week. I’ve been really pleased with the attitude and they are all ready for the game.”
Warnock has a thick back catalogue of disputes, fall-outs and confrontations with Bristol City supporters over the years and expects little different this weekend.
He once said that when he dies, the Bristol City supporters will pay their respects with a sustained minute of booing, rather than applause.
“I’ve been used to the Bristol fans over the years and everyone knows what I said about them and the minute’s silence when I pass away. I’m sure that will pop up on Sunday.”
Warnock’s first match in charge of Cardiff was against Bristol City three years ago – a 2-1 victory that featured a winner by Sol Bamba, on his debut, while the visitors’ scorer was Lee Tomlin, who could feature against his old club on Sunday.
Since then, Cardiff under Warnock have won promotion to the Premier League, been relegated, gone through the trauma of the Emiliano Sala affair, and started this season failing to live up to their tag as expected automatic promotion contenders.
But Warnock added: “You have to close your eyes and think where we’ve been in those three years.
“It is remarkable. A lot of clubs in our league and down below would all swap us for what we’ve done and where we’ve been. It has been a roller-coaster journey, although 2019 has been one of the hardest years I’ve had, both mentally and physically, with the things we’ve had to cope with.
“Now it is just great to look forward to a game of football, which is what we are in it for.
“Expectations are higher now because of where we have been, but sometimes you have to stand back and see where you were and realise what a good situation the club is in to progress.
“You can’t listen to all the negatives – there aren’t enough of the positives reported. I went to a supporters’ do in a pub in Whitchurch this week and it was an amazing night.
“The fans turned up in vast numbers and it was a great night. It has all been about giving them back their club. They are all proud of it now.”
Cardiff are currently 14th in the Championship table, while Lee Johnson’s Bristol City are sixth.
But such is the tightness of the division that a win for Cardiff on Sunday would close the gap between the clubs to just a single point.
Warnock added: “We have always played them when they are flying high in the league and they’ve had a great start. It has got the recipe for a good game.”