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Cardiff City Boss Erol Bulut Admits Carabao Cup Was A Sideshow He Can Do Without

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By Gareth James

Erol Bulut has confessed he threw any chance of progress in the Carabao Cup out of the window as he wanted to keep Cardiff City’s focus on the Championship road instead.

Bulut’s Bluebirds were hammered 5-2 at Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday after the Turkish boss decided to change his entire line-up.

The outcome was a predictable exit from the tournament, which Bulut insisted was a price he was happy to pay as he looks to try and extend this team’s winning league streak to four matches by overcoming Rotherham this weekend.

Andrew Moran scored two and set up two as Blackburn overpowered Cardiff in the third round tie.

“For the club, the priority is the league,” argued Bulut.

“That’s why we didn’t bring many players with us. Also, our system today, we made defenders from full-backs, wingers to full-backs.

“At least we saw today that in the future, which players we can use in our main team that can help us. Today there were only a few, not as many as I was expecting. But there were a few players who can also help us in the league.

“Even in training games I want to win. But sometimes the opponent is better than you and you have to accept it, like today, the opponent was better.

“But the priority is the Championship and the league and we will give everything on the weekend.”

Jake Garrett’s composed finish set Rovers on their way in the 13th minute before Cardiff’s Callum Robinson marked his first start of the season with a thunderous equaliser.

The 19-year-old Brighton loanee Moran’s first assist came in the 36th minute when his cutback was turned home by Arnor Sigurdsson on his home debut, but the much-changed Bluebirds hit back again through Kion Etete’s brilliant, improvised equaliser in first-half stoppage time.

A second-half Rovers blitz put the game beyond doubt. Moran profited from woeful defending to score his first goal in English football just after the break, before inducing a foul that led to a Sigurdsson spot kick that was well saved.

He doubled his tally and Blackburn’s lead in the 54th minute with a spectacular long-range effort, before feeding Dilan Markanday to register a fifth 15 minutes later.

Bulut added: “I said in the Cup we will try to go as far as we can. Today was the end for us against a good Blackburn team.

“At least we saw the difference between the young players and the team. They have good players and played today much, much better than us.

“In the first half we didn’t make a lot of chances, but made it 2-2. In the second half the opponent continued to play good but we didn’t continue. We were not focussed enough. The opponent was better. The two key things in football, focus and concentration, and for us it was not enough.”

Rovers have made the fourth round for the second consecutive campaign, and will face Chelsea away. They have scored 17 times in their three outings in the competition so far this season.

Home debutant Leopold Wahlstedt made a sharp low save early on to deny Etete, but Blackburn clinically hit the front when James Hill’s long pass found Garrett who controlled brilliantly and slotted underneath Runar Alex Runarsson.

Cardiff equalised in the 18th minute when Robinson found space 25 yards out to rifle an unstoppable drive into the bottom left corner.

Harry Pickering flashed an effort just wide of the post soon after and Rovers reasserted control in the 36th minute when a slick counter-attack saw Moran cut back perfectly for Sigurdsson to slam home from six yards.

Etete superbly equalised in first-half stoppage time, controlling a pass on the left and holding off two defenders before turning and producing a screamer that flew into the bottom right corner.

But they were put to the sword early in the second half. Runarsson made a sprawling save to deny Markanday but could do nothing in the 49th minute when Moran intercepted a Jonathan Panzo pass and slotted past the goalkeeper.

Moran then tricked his way into the box and was brought down by Ebou Adams but Sigurdsson’s low penalty was well saved by his Icelandic teammate Runarsson who parried behind.
The beleaguered keeper was helpless from the resulting corner though as Moran curled a sumptuous 25-yard drive beyond him in the 54th minute.

Adams denied Semir Telalovic a certain fifth soon after, while Bluebirds debutant James Crole curled on to the roof of the net.

But relentless Rovers hit their fifth in the 69th minute when Moran’s perfectly weighted pass found Markanday on the right who stroked home into the far corner via a post.

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