By Graham Thomas
Mick McCarthy has pledged to fight on as Cardiff City manager after Swansea inflicted a south Wales derby mauling and a sixth successive defeat on his side.
Jamie Paterson, Joël Piroe and Jake Bidwell were on target as Swansea piled the pressure on the embattled McCarthy with a comfortable Championship victory.
“I am bitterly disappointed,” said McCarthy, whose side are two places and three points above the relegation zone. “It’s difficult when you are on a run like we are. All of a sudden it doesn’t look cohesive and sometimes you get opened up.
“When does the pressure get too much for me? I keep doing the job and trying to get results. I will continue until anybody tells me different.
“All I have had is support. I think they – more than anybody – want me to be a success. Until anybody tells me different, I will be preparing for the Fulham game on Wednesday.”
The Cardiff chief executive, Ken Choo, had joined supporters bussed down the M4 and social media posts from the journey suggested he had questioned McCarthy’s future. Choo had supposedly asked fans for “new manager applications” and did not deny the remark when asked by a reporter about it before the game.
But Choo claimed the comment was made “in jest” and McCarthy said he did not wish to respond to it.
“I don’t have any reaction to it,” McCarthy said. “I can’t imagine that Ken Choo would say that, actually, to people.
— Jamie Paterson (@jamiepaterson12) October 17, 2021
“And if he did, I think it would be said to me and nobody else. So no, I wouldn’t react to that. Until Ken tells me he said it, it doesn’t make a difference to me.”
The Swansea manager, Russell Martin, thought it was the best display from his side since he was appointed in August.
“It was an incredible performance. The guys have handled the occasion brilliantly,” Martin said. “I feel like we’ve been really dominant in games and not quite created enough or, when we have, not quite had the composure and poise to finish it off.
“We spoke before the game about weathering the storm early on while Cardiff have intensity, energy and aggression. After that, I thought we controlled the match in a really good way.”
Paterson celebrated the first goal with a “swim away” celebration, a reference Swansea fans use to taunt their Cardiff counterparts after a conflict between them on the city’s beach many years ago.
Martin joined in the “swim away” celebrations at the final whistle and said: “I got carried away. Why not? I got told to do it by someone and I understand the story a little bit.
“You have to be willing to accept that if you’re singing a certain relative of mine is something in the game.” Asked if he would repeat the gesture again, Martin said: “You’ll have to wait and see if we go and win at their place next time around. Probably not.”
An utterly dominant Swans inflicted a rare crushing Welsh derby victory over their bitter rivals which may well hasten the departure of McCarthy.
Not since 2014, when Cardiff were managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and lost 3-0, had one club enjoyed a three-goal margin but Paterson, Piroe and Bidwell ensured a victory that could easily have been more convincing.
Get Mick Mccarthy out of my Club… And if the Board are lining up another ex failed Premier League manager, they can put that idea straight in the bin. We need a rebuild from the bottom. New ideas, new vision. This is soul destroying. #bluebirds
— Bethan 🏴 (@bethphill_) October 17, 2021
For McCarthy – whose team were bereft of attacking cogency beyond set pieces – this was a sixth successive defeat and could well prove his last.
“Mick McCarthy . . . we want you to stay,” was the taunt from Swansea supporters near the end, but Cardiff owner Vincent Tan may already have other ideas.
The first Welsh derby in front of fans for almost two years ignited a raucously nostalgic atmosphere in front of a full house, as well as an eventful opening.
Swansea appeared to have a convincing claim for a penalty in the third minute when Ethan Laird, their loanee from Manchester United, appeared to be tripped by Curtis Nelson as the wing-back attempted to cross from the right.
The referee, James Linington, waved the appeals away, a decision that might have proved far more significant had Cardiff winger Ryan Giles taken the game’s first clear opportunity four minutes later.
Given space near the penalty spot after a combination between Leandro Bacuna and Kieffer Moore, Giles’ shot was close enough for goalkeeper Ben Hamer to make a save and it remained goalless.
That proved to be the most threatening Cardiff moment of the half as they spent the remainder of the first period chasing white shirts as the ball was moved around them.
The home side have often monopolised possession in their matches this season, but been unable to turn dominance into goals.
If Craig Bellamy become Mick McCarthy’s successor as the he Cardiff City Manager, it would be blockbuster stuff. pic.twitter.com/W5HzMAhyjD
— Propaganda Wales🏴⚽️ (@PropagandaWales) October 17, 2021
But they went ahead in the 29th minute with a goal from Paterson which was deserved reward for the midfielder’s influence.
It was Paterson who found space on the left before whipping in a cross from which Alex Smithies produced a fine save to deny Piroe.
But Swansea recycled their attack on the opposite flank and when Paterson was given space, he unleashed a vicious dipping strike from 25-yards that struck the inside of the post before going in.
The former Bristol City player celebrated with the “swam away”, a baiting gesture adopted by some Swansea followers that references an incident between rival fans supposed to have taken place on a beach.
Cardiff gained a little more possession at the start of the second half, but their inability to retain the ball and build pressure resulted in few opportunities.
An Aden Flint shot was deflected for a corner, from which Bacuna headed over, before Piroe calmly made it 2-0 to Swansea on the hour.
Swansea double their lead!
📺 Watch Swansea City vs Cardiff City live on Sky Sports Football pic.twitter.com/X4aXKIbWbL
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 17, 2021
Paterson was again the creative influence, finding his Dutch teammate with a clever pass before Piroe showed composure to control the ball on his chest and thread it over an advancing Smithies.
It might have got worse for Cardiff, but Mark McGuinness just about got a touch on the ball before brining down Korey Smith.
Substitute Olivier Ntcham should have added a third as Cardiff wilted, before Bidwell duly made it 3-0 with 15 minutes to go.
A burst from Laird down the right enabled Paterson to chip the ball to the far post where Bidwell headed in.