Palace manager Roy Hodgson. Pic: Getty Images.

Bluebirds Boss Warnock Says City Have What It takes

Neil Warnock believes his Bluebirds have two massive plusses in their battle to earn Premier League survival.

Cardiff City follow their gutsy goalless draw at Crystal Palace with a trip to face Leicester City on Saturday and manager Warnock talked about travelling supporters plus the sheer character, spirit and belief among his players.

“The fans were fabulous again and to maintain that volume was unbelievable,” said Warnock. “All credit to them.

“When you have got fans like that and a club supporting you there is always a chance. 

“Our dressing room is our strength. We play a lot more than what people give us credit for and we have steel about us.”

Palace defeated Manchester City before facing the Bluebirds, but could not overcome Warnock’s warriors.

Now Cardiff travel to Leicester’s King Power Stadium where the home team won against Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions on Boxing Day.

Goals from Marc Albrighton and Portugal international defender Ricardo Pereira earned Leicester’s win, while Cardiff battled to a heartwarming goalless draw at Palace.

“Three points and another good performance, another [example of] togetherness,” said Leicester manager Claude Puel after seeing his team condemn Manchester City to defeat. “We were fantastic with our mentality.

“It will be a different game against Cardiff. They play with a lot of direct play, second balls and aerial battles. It will be extremely tough.

“They will be tough to play against this team.”

Former Palace manager Warnock was beaming after the 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park. He loves the place and is now unbeaten in his last 10 visits to Palace as a manager.

More than 1,800 City supporters made the trip to London and roared their team on in a pulsating Premier League clash.

This was the first time Warnock and former England manager Roy Hodgson had gone head-to-head as managers. Both are aged 70-plus, but it was Warnock who finished the game with a huge smile on his face.

City have now earned two away points in the Premier this season and the way this match went will lift everything at the Welsh club.

Palace will point out they had 63 per cent of the possessions and created chances with Wilfried Zaha at his fluent best.

Palace had 31 shots, although only five were on target, and City were restricted to nine with four on target. 

Hodgson’s team also earned 12 corners – to City’s one. The visitors almost finished the game in sensational style when Bruno Manga fired over from a good position during injury time.

There were times when Palace overran Cardiff in midfield, but the visitors dug in 

Cardiff made five changes to their team following their 5-1 home defeat against Manchester United last time out with Peltier, Joe Bennett, Joe Ralls, Kadeem Harris and Bobby Reid stepping in, while Harry Arter, Josh Murphy, Aron Gunnarsson and Greg Cunningham.

Callum Paterson and Kenneth Zohore both had knocks and were not in the 18.

Warnock said after the match that Zohore will be out for a few weeks with a thigh strain, while Paterson could be available for Saturday’s fixture at Leicester City.

Warnock’s selections were designed to fire up team with energy and tempo in what was a difficult clash.

Former City and Wales defender Danny Gabbidon watched the match and, speaking on BBC Radio Wales, said: “This was better and they used a system which looked more solid with an extra central defender at the heart of defence.

“Palace struggled in central areas because there were so many bodies in there. 

“Cardiff had opportunities and Kadeem Harris had an outstanding chance, but his shot was at a nice height for the ‘keeper.

“Overall there were less individual mistakes, a polished team performance.

“Zaha was sensational. He is a vast different player now than when he played for Cardiff more than four years ago.

“I played alongside him and it’s clear he has grown up, knuckled down . He was brilliant at times, a joy to watch.

“Everything Palace did that was good went through Zaha.”

Warnock was delighted with that Manga tackle to deny Zaha, saying: “I have no idea were he got that from.

“We were a little nervous in the first 10 minutes, perhaps thinking about Palace and how they have played at home.

“We grew into the game, had a lot more possession, moved the ball quicker and created some good chances.

“We went for the winner rather than hang on in there and their goalie made the best save of the game from Townsend.

“Overall we were strong and broke quickly. On another day could have taken points.”

Palace were twice denied by the woodwork. Townsend hit the bar and Luka Milivojevic rattled the post with sweetly struck free-kick after the break.

Cardiff’s Joe Bennett keeps Palace at bay. Pic: Getty Images.

Cardiff had chances of their own, with Bobby Reid wasting a golden opportunity after half an hour, while man of the match Bruno Manga fired narrowly over with the last kick of the game, but were otherwise on the back foot for much of the afternoon.

Manga made the best challenge of the match, stopping Zaha in his tracks with a perfectly timed challenge when the Palace speed king was about to shoot eight yards from goal.

City are now three points clear of the relegation places following this result in South London. Warnock was applauded by City fans at the end, of course, but iota was also heartening that the former Palace manager was given a warm reception from home supporters.

Crystal Palace: Guaita, van Aanholt, Milivojevic (C), Tomkins, Meyer (Wickham 62)’, Kouyaté, Townsend, Zaha, Sakho, McArthur, Wan-Bissaka. Subs not used: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Ayew, Schlupp, Puncheon.

Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier, Bennett, Morrison (C), Manga, Ralls, Reid, Camarasa (Gunnarsson 90), Bamba, Harris, Hoilett (Arter 90). Subs not used: Smithies, Murphy, Cunningham, Mendez-Laing, Madine.

Referee: Lee Robert

Attendance: 25,206

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