Almost 1,700 Bluebirds fans travelled to Newcastle United and were devastated by a 3-0 defeat, but they at least had good news on the way back to Wales.
Cardiff City confirmed the £18m record signing Emiliano Sala from FC Nantes.
The 28-year old has signed a three-and-a-half year deal at Cardiff City Stadium through to the summer of 2022.
“It feels special [to be the Club’s record signing],” said Sala, speaking exclusively to cardiffcityfc.co.uk. “I have come here wanting to work, help my teammates and the club.
“I can’t wait to get to work straight away and do everything I can.”
City chief executive Ken Choo says: “It’s been a long process, but I’m pleased that we’re now in a position to officially announce him as a Cardiff City player.
“I’d like to thank those involved for making the signing happen, especially Tan Sri Vincent and the rest of the transfer committee.
“We see Emiliano as a significant acquisition and welcome him wholeheartedly to the capital city of Wales. I’m sure all Cardiff City fans will join me in that and we can look forward to seeing our record signing in a Bluebirds shirt.”
Argentinian striker Sala scored an impressive 12 league goals in 19 appearances for Nantes in French Ligue 1 this season.
Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds have 10 days before their next Premier League fixture and that time must be used well.
— Emiliano Sala (@EmilianoSala1) January 19, 2019
He has added Oumar Niasse on loan from Everton and Sala, while Warnock would still love to add a couple more next time out.
The big decision now is what is City’s best starting line-up for the match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Bobby Decordova-Reid went on for 26 minutes at St James Park and will be in Warnock’s thoughts after a highly impressive cameo appearance.
“The system suited him,” said Warnock. I have had no complaints with Bobby and the opportunities he’s had.
“I always pick what I think is my best side if I’m honest and I don’t think that will change.”
Cardiff will work on combinations in training and maybe Decordova-Reid would be a better fit alongside Niasse, their new loan signing from Everton.
The Senegal international was thrown in at the deep end after one training session, having completed his move on Friday, is far from match fit and the link with Callum Paterson, who took up the number 10 role, simply did not work.
— Fantasy Premier League (@OfficialFPL) January 19, 2019
That is scarcely surprising given the two have only just met.
Newcastle were poor and City failed to take advantage, but a three-goal defeat was harsh.
Captain Sol Bamba and Bruno Manga will develop their partnership over the next few matches and, once again, the 10-day break because of the FA Cup will help.
“It wasn’t a 3-0 game,” said Warnock. “I couldn’t see them breaking through until the first goal which was poor from our point of view.
“I felt quite comfortable in fact and then all of a sudden we concede a sloppy goal. Poor defending and the lad took advantage.
“We started the second half well, looked dangerous and then conceded the second that killed us. We didn’t have anything drop for us and they were better than us in the final third.
“Nine of the lads that played today were in the Championship last season. While we are disappointed, but it is not the end of the world. We looked a half decent side. I didn’t think in the last third we did enough.”
“We must be more clinical. There were so many opportunities to put a final ball in, a final pass or get a shot away.
“There were brilliant blocks from the Newcastle lads, but we shouldn’t have allowed them to become brilliant blocks. We should have got the shot away earlier.”
Many thanks to the travelling support at St James' Park.
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) January 19, 2019
Defensive errors remain a problem, while in their last two fixtures City have scarcely managed a shot on target. Both issues must be addressed.
Cardiff have failed to score in 11 of their Premier League matches this season and that’s higher than any other team.
Swiss defender Fabian Schar scored twice for United, after 24 and 63 minutes, and Ayoz Perez completed the scoring with 90 minutes gone.
The first goal highlighted Cardiff’s frailty at the back when Schar was allowed to run from the right touchline before curling a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Newcastle have won their last 10 home league games against Cardiff and Rafa Benitez said: “We did good and scored three goals. Everybody has to be happy.
“The main thing is the commitment of the players. Then it was about trying to manage the game against a tough team, a physical team.
“Fabian Schar has quality on the ball. His first was a great goal. The team were giving everything and this kind of game you know you have to work hard.
“I said before we would still have to win a lot of games to stay up.”
Cardiff slipped into the bottom there after this defeat with Newcastle jumping above them.
Victory ended a five-game winless run for the Magpies and lifted them two points clear of the Bluebirds, who only have Fulham and Huddersfield beneath them.
Newcastle United (5-4-1): Newcastle United: Dúbravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Schär, Ritchie (Manquillo, 85), Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu, Pérez, Rondón. Subs not used: Woodman, Clark, Murphy, Joselu, Sterry, Roberts.
Cardiff City (4-4-2): Neil Etheridge, Lee Peltier, Joe Bennett, Bruno Ecuele Manga, Sol Bamba (capt), Victor Camarasa, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Josh Murphy 82), Joe Ralls, Junior Hoilett, Oumar Niasse (Bobby Decordova-Reid 64), Callum Paterson (Danny Ward 89). Subs not used: Alex Smithies (gk), Greg Cunningham, Aron Gunnarsson, Kadeem Harris.
Referee: Stuart Attwell