Neil Harris has lost patience with Cardiff City’s flops and vowed to move them on before they cost him his job.
The Bluebirds manager appears to have reached a firm conclusion on those he believes undermined his predecessor Neil Warnock, the clarity brought into sharp focus by the 6-1 humiliation at QPR on New Year’s Day.
It could now be a busier than anticipated transfer window for Harris, who clearly feels it is time to the clear the decks or risk going the way of Warnock who was sacked in November.
After a promising start under Harris, Cardiff have now won once in their last six matches and slipped to 12th in the table.
They have played 26 Championship matches this season and the win column is yet to reach double figures.
“Neil lost his job because of the performances of the players. Well, I don’t owe the group anything,” said Harris.
“I support them and if they work for me, then great. Obviously, January is a busy transfer window.
Five of QPR’s six goals against Cardiff City this afternoon were scored or assisted by an under-23 player:
⚽🅰️🅰️ Ebere Eze (21)
⚽⚽ Bright Osayi-Samuel (22)
🅰️ Ilias Chair (21)
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) January 1, 2020
“The result was a reality check that the team that got promoted a couple of years ago isn’t the team of today. The players aren’t the same. The players are older. The group’s different.
“Ultimately, the characteristic of the group – personality-wise and the attributes to do it mentally and physically – is it there?
“January is a notoriously tough window. We were looking to try to get some players out to free up opportunities to get some in. That doesn’t change for me.
“The players have highlighted today that some of them can’t reach the standards that I demand.
“I’ve come into a group where they have a great reputation as individuals and at times as a group. Well, at times I don’t see it.
“The players need to look at themselves individually and collectively – there are some big names – and say, do they do enough? Do they want it enough? Do they do enough for the football club?”
Harris also insisted that a similar debacle would not occur again while he is Bluebirds boss.
“We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I can promise the fans that it won’t happen again under me,” he said.
Not good enough today is an understatement! All we can do is apologise to every Cardiff City supporter and especially those who travelled to watch us today! Bad start to the year but we pick ourselves up and go again! #cityasone #cardiff #bluebirds
— Neil Etheridge (@Neil38Etheridge) January 1, 2020
“My teams don’t defend like that. They don’t get opened up like that. We weren’t good enough.
“I need to apologise on behalf of the group – not the players, on behalf of the group, which I’m the leader of – to our fans who have travelled at an expensive time.”
Nahki Wells scored a hat-trick for Rangers, who had not won in four matches and had won just two of their previous 13 – dropping points despite having plenty of possession and chances.
The outstanding Bright Osayi-Samuel scored twice and there was also a goal for Ebere Eze.
QPR boss Mark Warburton was delighted to see his side make the most of their chances.
“The one difference is that we put the ball in the back of the net,” he said. “The stats are the same as the other games we played, but today we were far more clinical.
“As long as we create chances, then come the end of the season we’ll be in a good place.
— Sporting Life Football (@SportingLifeFC) January 2, 2020
“It’s about creating quality chances and we’ve been doing that – look at the chances we’ve missed. Today we scored.
“Nahki has been struggling of late and that’s the striker’s life. I’m delighted at how he responded.
“Bright has that beautiful attribute of sheer pace which terrifies defenders and when he uses it wisely, as he did today, he looks a real handful.
“I’m delighted for him and it’s good for the crowd to see a player who gets them off their seats.
“We looked a very good team today. We’ve had good days and bad days. It’s about building on this.”