Neil Warnock has admitted he still needs two or three players to help with Cardiff City’s relegation battle – but he’s not holding his breath.
The Bluebirds manager was given further evidence of the holes in his team as they were beaten 3-0 at home by Tottenham in a one-sided New Year’s Day clash.
The defeat may have felt affordable to Cardiff fans after their impressive four points tally from previous away trips to Crystal Palace and Leicester, but with other clubs finding some form around them it appears more costly than it might have been.
Warnock’s team are just three points above the relegation zone, a situation that could alter in just one fixture as Burnley’s goal difference in 18th place is now the same as Cardiff’s.
Asked about new recruits in the January transfer window, Warnock said: “We are working hard, trying hard, we do need two or three.
“The chairman is doing it all – he knows how hard it is now! I’m pleased he’s negotiated! But it’s not straightforward, if you can fit in at this stage of the season; January is a terrible month to be buying.
“At least we have 10 days or so until the next game, get everyone fit and hopefully bring one or two lads in as well, and we go again. We have to put these defeats behind us and onto the next one.”
Cardiff were 3-0 down inside 26 minutes against Spurs, a heavy landing back on earth after their vital late 1-0 win at Leicester on Saturday.
Warnock was happy with the second-half performance, but is aiming for his side to start games better than the sloppy 45 minutes served up again when playing one of the top six teams.
“You can’t concede them against teams like this, there’s no chance,” he said. “I’m pleased second half we didn’t fold.
“We wanted to play for our pride really [in the second half]. We had a good crowd, noisy right until the end, and I think goal difference is important at the end of the season. It’s quite easy to concede another two or three goals.
“We’ve got to start better. Against the good sides, if you give them the goals the confidence oozes and they can tear you apart.
“I think we’ve done remarkably well in that first period [of the season], up to today, and you can’t be too disappointed, you’ve just got to get on with it.”
Cardiff remain three points above the relegation zone, with heavy home defeats against Manchester United and Tottenham bookending the four points picked up in away games at Palace and Leicester.
Boss Warnock was dismayed that no action was taken against Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko for a first-half challenge, and he was just as unhappy with the self-inflicted nature of Cardiff’s early play.
“I don’t think it was a game too far, I just thought we shot ourselves in the foot,” Warnock said.
“Man United, it was two-and-a-half minutes, today one-and-a-half minutes.
“You can’t give quality players like that a lift.
“We wanted to put them under pressure after their (Wolves) result and really it was a stroll.
“I was pleased we didn’t just fold in the second half.
“We had to play for pride and, all credit to them, they battled well in the second half when it would have been easy to roll over.”
Mauricio Pochettino praised his Spurs players after they banished the memories of Saturday’s shock home defeat to Wolves.
Spurs moved back into second place and, to within six points of Premier League leaders Liverpool, as first-half goals from Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min rewarded their superiority over Warnock’s Bluebirds.
“I think it was so important (to win) and build another positive run,” Pochettino said.
“It was so important for our confidence, because in three days we are going to start another competition, the FA Cup. Then we are going to play the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea.
“It was so important to start the new year with a victory, away from home in a very difficult place, against a team like Cardiff who came from beating Leicester.
“They came with massive confidence in the way they played the last game and it was a massive victory for us.
“It is three points that make us believe a little bit more in our possibility to be in a very good position in the table.”
Tottenham can now relax with a watching brief as third-placed Manchester City and Liverpool meet at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night – a game where Pochettino says he will be in a “neutral position”.
And the Spurs boss said he was delighted with the way his players handled their fourth league game in 10 days.
“Us and Everton, we were the two teams who suffered the most difficult fixtures in that period,” Pochettino said after Spurs had returned a nine-point haul from their four festive games.
“So, of course, I congratulate the players because the effort was fantastic.
“I was very pleased with the performance and we were so clinical from the beginning.
“To be 3-0 up after 20 minutes was fantastic for us and then we dominated the game.”