Georginio Rutter of Leeds United celebrates scoring with team mate Ethan Ampadu. Pic: Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Deep Breath . . . Erol Bulut Admits He’s Having To Hide His True Feelings About Cardiff City

By Graham Thomas

Erol Bulut admitted he had to his hold his true feelings in check after Cardiff City fell to a humbling, utterly one-sided defeat to Leeds United.

The Bluebirds lost 3-0, but the scoreline could easily have been twice as damaging and Bulut’s recent record at home now shows just four points gathered from seven matches.

What appeared to trouble Bulut – who is out of contract at the end of the season – was not so much the gulf in class but his players’ lack of desire to narrow that gap through hard work and determination.

“You can lose a game but you have to fight and today was not that case,” said Bulut.

“If I told you how I feel on the inside, it would not be good. I need to be calm.

“We have a quality, better team in front of us but we have to at least show more fighting spirit.

“We were not aggressive enough and not speedy enough. Shadow marking will not help us. We all have to go together and press with speed and aggression. The first half was not that case. We were far away from the opponent.

“There were too many individual mistakes. If you make mistakes, quality opponents punish you and we got punished like that.”

The Championship is often trumpeted as a competitive dog-eat-dog, every hound has his day kind of place, but this was not a match with which to burnish that myth.

In fact, such was Leeds’ utter dominance, it was hard to believe Cardiff occupy the same planet, never mind a shared place in the top half of the division and common dreams of promotion.

This was a third successive 3-0 win for manager Daniel Farke’s team in all competitions and the margin could have been more.

Patrick Bamford and Dan James scored the first-half goals, giving Leeds a cushion so comfortable they could afford to lazily recline and were more in danger of nodding off than suffering a Cardiff fightback.

The second-half was something of a sleepwalk and when Crysencio Summerville had a chance to make it 3-0 from the penalty spot 12 minutes from the end, the Dutchman dozily struck the ball against the foot of the post.

It mattered little, though, since a rapid counterattack in the 88th minute ended with a patient finale to the move and a well-struck finish from Georginio Rutter.

Yet this was a Leeds team that had lost their three previous away matches, casting significant doubts over their ability to chase down Leicester and Ipswich for the automatic promotion places or even hold their place among the play-off places.

Cardiff also harbour hopes of a top-six finish, but they have not won at home in the league for four matches and defeats in that sequence to Leicester and Birmingham City, as well as Leeds, suggest a team heading in the wrong direction.

“This was our most mature performance of the season,” said Farke.

“It’s a third clean sheet in a row which is a really good start to the new year. We kept them totally quiet and dominated them in a fantastic matter. We should have scored a few more but the win was never in doubt.

“Cardiff is by far the best side in terms of set-pieces in this league, so it’s important you keep their game from your goal.

“You have to press them high and make sure the ball is in their half and that you are really accurate in your possession.

“I like the mentality. I’ve criticised them in the last away games when we’ve had setbacks – penalties denied and red cards – and found it difficult to grind out a result.

“But we were really on it and showed resilience. It was nice to watch our football, it was pleasing on the eye.”

Cardiff have now won only one of their last six home games and appear in need of a strong January transfer window to revive their fortunes.

When asked about incoming players, Bulut sounded less optimistic than a month ago, suggesting the club have decided not to spend much money.

“I don’t know how the transfer window will go for us,” he added.

“We have many names on the list – striker, winger, midfielder, centre-back. But finances, I don’t know where we are.

“I try to make my best for Cardiff until the end of the season. I’m always positive but it doesn’t only make changes when I’m positive. I hope the following days, until the end of the window, we can finalise some transfers.”


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