Cardiff City manager Erol Bulut, celebrates with Ollie Tanner. Pic: Getty Images

Cardiff City Throw A Tanner In The Works . . . And The Short Michael Duff Era At Swansea Is Now In Danger Of Grinding To A Halt

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By Gareth James

Erol Bulut will continue to throw a Tanner in the works of opposition defences after 21-year-old Ollie broke Swansea City’s previously smooth-running derby day dominance.

Bluebirds manager Bulut has used Tanner sparingly since the Turkish boss arrived in the capital this summer.

He even revealed after Cardiff’s 2-0 victory on Saturday night that he and the winger have a running joke that the player is better as a substitute than when he starts.

Tanner scored his first professional goal and made Cardiff’s second as they ended a run of four South Wales derby defeats.

A dour game was lit up by the introduction of player who was earning his corn in non-League for York last season and took only 41 seconds to blast the Bluebirds ahead from a tight angle.

His sensational cameo continued against a toothless Swansea when racing past Kristian Pedersen late on. The Denmark defender hauled him down on the edge of the area and after referee Samuel Barrott judged the contact continued into the box, Aaron Ramsey stepped up to seal victory from 12 yards.

Swansea had only lost four of their previous 12 derbies but after coming up short in Cardiff remain one of only three teams in the Championship yet to have tasted victory this season and are in the relegation zone.

Their hosts rise to 15th, five points above the drop.

“Ollie Tanner is a good player,” said Bulut.

“He will make mistakes, but I count on him. If he comes from the bench, he gives a better performance than if he starts in the first XI, we have a joke about it.

“I had already seen what he showed today [to keep him around]. One-v-one he is good, coming inside he has a good shot, he can dribble inside, but he’s also good on his right foot and we train with him on it every week.”

Bulut also paid tribute to Cardiff’s supporters who sang through the driving rain at a stadium where the roofs of the stands offer little protection in a swirling wind.

“The fans were great. From the first minute to the end of the game, they were supporting the team perfectly. I said to the team, ‘we have to be ready, the fans are ready’. Today [Saturday] we were ready.

“We showed our fighting spirit, before this game we created more chances and couldn’t score – [on Saturday] we created less and scored twice and kept a clean sheet.”

The cruelest irony on Swansea’s fans was that because of the constraints of the bubble fixture, they were forced to remain to see Cardiff celebrate victory.

They were left to ponder their own club’s failings, with Michael Duff still searching for his first win since joining the club this summer.

What has been a disappointing start and initially could be put down to teething problems following Duff’s arrival as head coach in the summer, is now in danger of becoming a full-blown crisis.

Duff has branded the type of football he inherited from previous head coach Russell Martin as “extreme” and sought a more pragmatic style.

But instead of retaining the fluency of the team under Martin – and smoothing off some of the defensive rough edges – Duff has gone for a complete re-boot.

BBC Radio Wales pundit and former Wales defender Danny Gabbidon claimed on Saturday night that Duff had taken the team’s well-established passing style back 15 years, to a time prior to the arrival of Roberto Martinez as manager.

Duff admitted his team are low on both confidence and quality.

“The first goal was always going to be important for two teams struggling for confidence,” said the former Barnsley manager.

“There’s a lack of quality really, which is not unlike us. Every time we passed the ball forwards in the second half, we gave it away. We turned it over far too many times, couldn’t build any momentum. Their subs changed the game, ours haven’t.

“We never really looked like scoring in the second half. It’s a concern, we’ve not won a game, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist.

“One thing we should have – the players who are here are good footballers. The surprising thing is that it’s the lack of quality with the ball that let us down.”

Swansea travel to Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night, with Duff clearly now under real pressure to deliver a first league victory of the season sooner rather than later.

“There’s no question,” he added. “We need to win a game. I’m not going to sit up here and try to pull the wool over people’s eyes and say we’re not under pressure and all that sort of stuff.

“Of course you’re under pressure because it’s a winning business. We’re not going to make excuses. The facts are we need to win a game. We look low on confidence and it looked like at 2-0 we started passing the ball again because there was no pressure.

“So it’s about having that belief and sticking to task.”

The question is how long will Duff be given to put things right.

The Swans normally like to give their head coaches time to get things right, but they are not averse to pulling the trap door open when they feel it is necessary as they did with Bob Bradley after only 85 days in 2016.

Duff has been in charge for 78 days and when asked what might happen if things did not change, offered only a determination not to change his approach.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I’ll get my head down and stick to my values. I won’t come off from what I believe in. I’m not naive enough to forget it’s a win business. I’ve been in it for 30 years.

“So, it’s very rarely someone’s going to come along and go ‘oh there’s a win. We feel sorry for you’. We’ve got to go and earn it. That’s what we have to do.

“I’ve finished in the top four three times out of the last four. The one time I didn’t it was the highest the club have finished in 134 years. So, I believe in what I do.

“I’m not here to talk about other people and other teams and things like that. I believe in the way I want it to look and whether you get the time or whether you don’t, I’ll just keep working because that’s what I believe in.

“I wasn’t a very good footballer but I did okay because I had a good attitude, a good mentality and I worked hard. Nothing’s changed. I’ve still got the same mentality, same belief in what I do.”

Alongside Gabbidon on Radio Wales, former Swansea midfielder Andy Robinson said: “It’s only six games in, but the lack of identity or seeing where this side is going, the fans will not stand for it.

“It hasn’t always been successful, it wasn’t under Russell Martin (In terms of making the play-offs), but there’s been a Swansea way, an identity, to be able to stick your chest out and say ‘that’s how we play’, and if you lose, you die by the sword, – they didn’t have anything like that.”

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One thought on “Cardiff City Throw A Tanner In The Works . . . And The Short Michael Duff Era At Swansea Is Now In Danger Of Grinding To A Halt

  1. The fact we couldn’t beat this piss poor Cardiff side shows how much damage a sideways passing manager with no forward thought can cause to a club long-term, no creativity to see now as the players were bored to tears for two seasons. Difficult situation for a manager like Duff who wants to try and get them moving in the right direction again, if only we hadn’t believed the con-artist Martin.

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