By Jack Cook
The Bluebirds boss has seen his side pick up eight points from his first four games in charge including back-to-back wins at Bristol City and Rotherham in the last two matches.
City will be looking to maintain that unbeaten start to life under McCarthy when they entertain Coventry City on Saturday knowing victory will propel them further up the table.
“I’ve been delighted they have responded to everything. I said when I first got the job, and I look at the squad, and I mean, arguably it’s probably the best squad I’ve ever inherited,” said McCarthy.
“Quite clearly, having seen the games that we’ve had we’ve got a real work ethic as well as being prepared to scrap because they’ve had to do certainly on Tuesday night and all those snowy conditions as well.
“We’ve had two really good results, and I’ve said to the lads this morning, what we can’t do is be complacent and think we’ve got four results.
With 18 games to go the Bluebirds are currently eight points off the play-offs, but McCarthy doesn’t want his side becoming complacent after being in good form.
He added: “We will have eight points from four games. This is a great return. But we don’t suddenly start believing that we’re this team that can just go and press all the way.
“We’ve got to win tomorrow and get something out of the next game at Luton and if we can do that six, seven, eight games then I think we might start believing but what I don’t want to do is too big it up and then we trip ourselves up against Coventry.
City’s opponents are back in 19th spot but McCarthy has only praise for the Sky Blues boss Mark Robins.
“Mark has brought them up and of course, they’ll keep playing the same way. They’re not going to change or get the ball down or pass it,” he added.
“They have good runners, good movement and they’re not frightened to express themselves and they’ll just keep playing the way they do and then a good success with it.”
McCarthy has also spoken out on the issue of abuse players receive on social media which has been dominating headlines.
Facebook on Thursday: “The changes we have announced today are part of a larger strategy of our commitment to more accountability and commitment to stopping this hate.”
Facebook on Friday: This ⬇️ https://t.co/hoVYLxs1Os
— Phil Blanche (@philblanche) February 12, 2021
Swansea City’s Yan Dhanda was the victim of racist abuse this week following the FA Cup defeat by Manchester City.
“I’m not that au fait with the platforms because I’m not on any of them,” added McCarthy.
“I do realise I’m 62 and I’ve decided to miss the boat on that. I’m not bothered what anyone thinks about me. I don’t want to get abused because I certainly would, no doubt.
“But it really has an awful effect on the person abused. Why in this day and age they can’t be identified. The secret bullying, when you can just hide and not get caught, is dreadful.”
Since returning from loan from Sheffield Wednesday Aden Flint has featured heavily in McCarthy’s new five back system and the Bluebirds boss has been impressed by his performances
“Aden was excellent at Bristol City I was really happy to be inherited him. I only had positive thoughts about Aden Flint and he’s not disappointed.
“He’s been an excellent with the three lads at the back who have responded well to it and I think played very well and the reacted off of each other in the way they organise themselves certainly as a as a back three, back five and so far, it’s been it’s been pretty good and then Aden’s been excellent.”
McCarthy is also very impressed with right back Perry Ng who the Bluebirds signed in the recent transfer window from Crewe just days before Neil Harris was sacked.
He said: “I bet Perry has endeared himself to the fans because he’s a very good footballer. He’s come from the academy at Crewe of course. Dario Gradi always makes sure players understand their job and they’re technically good footballers.
“You can see that in him. I think he’s learning about the Championship and the physicality of it and what we require from him. I really like him. He’s a very, very good footballer with a really bright future. I’m delighted with him.”
The Bluebirds will still be without new signing Jonny Williams who is still recovering from his injury but will see the return of Leandro Bacuna.
“We’re just going to make sure he’s okay and then he should be fit for the rest of the games,” said McCarthy of the Wales midfielder.
“I don’t want to rush and any of them back really because we’ve got games coming thick and fast you know, and if they have to miss one and then they’re fit for the next five, six, seven, eight that’s better to me than rushing suddenly about getting 40 minutes than getting injured for the next five or six games.”
Cardiff will still be without their number one goalkeeper after Alex Smithies mysteriously went off at the win against Bristol City, the issue being revealed as a virus but not COVID-19.
“Of all the time to get a virus and it’s not Coronavirus is beyond me, to be honest.” added McCarthy. “But it wasn’t and isn’t and it completely wiped him out he said and he’s not available he’s out.”
“On the upside, Dillon (Phillips) was excellent. So, you don’t want your players missing. But when you get players will come in and replace them. You want them to play well and he did he put in a good performance.”