Ian Holloway has come to the defence of Neil Warnock and claimed Cardiff City’s problems stem from their ongoing dispute over payments for Emiliano Sala.
Former QPR, Crystal Palace and Blackpool manager Holloway believes Warnock’s efforts to build a promotion challenge in the Championship have been undermined by the fall-out from the Sala affair.
With Cardiff still at odds over having to pay the first £16m of the Sala transfer fee to Nantes – and expected to be told by FIFA they must also pay the remainder of the £15m fee – the issue has still not been resolved.
Holloway – a pundit on the streaming service Quest – said: “It hasn’t been the start to the season Cardiff City would have wanted after coming back down from the Premier League.
“I think the sadness that surrounds that club is almost impossible to deal with, the emotion that they went through losing Emiliano Sala like they did.
“Obviously, that’s still ongoing, and what a horrendous situation, arguing over money when a life has been lost.
“I think that would take its toll on any club, but even without that, it’s so, so tough when you go up and come back down to try and regain that momentum.”
Warnock has come under pressure from some Cardiff fans and pundits such as former Cardiff and Wales defender following a lacklustre derby display against Swansea City last week.
That 1-0 defeat meant the Bluebirds have won only four of their opening 14 League matches, but Holloway is convinced Warnock can still turn things around in the manager’s final season at the club before he stands down.
“They’re in a Championship that’s getting stronger and stronger all the time, and they lost a close local derby against Swansea at the weekend,” added Holloway.
“But I believe in Neil Warnock. He’s one of the most successful managers I’ve ever seen in the Championship throughout his whole career, and if anyone can get them back up towards the top of the table it’s him.
“Getting them up the first time was almost a miracle, but can miracles happen twice?”
But whilst accepting his team were poor against the Swans last Sunday, Warnock has rejected some of the criticism aimed at him and his players.
Cardiff face in-form Birmingham City at home tomorrow and Warnock said: “I don’t accept criticism about fitness and intensity, but I’ve never seen our passing as poor.
“We’ve got to look to the next game. I’m disappointed we haven’t got eight more points this season, which would have put it in a better perspective.
“But we can’t be left feeling too sorry for ourselves. We’ve got two really tough home games. Birmingham are flying at the moment and then there’s a derby with Bristol.”