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Neil Warnock Remains Defiant After Worse Cardiff City Home Defeat For 24 Years

Neil Warnock insists Cardiff City can absorb the kind of hammerings inflicted by Manchester City and still survive in the Premier League.

The Bluebirds manager watched as his team were severely outclassed by the champions on Saturday as they eased to a 5-0 victory that could have been even more painful.

The defeat was Cardiff’s worst at home for 24 years and it leaves them in the relegation zone, still seeking their first win of the season.

But Warnock believes their destiny will be determined by results against clubs lower down the food chain than Pep Guardiola’s magnificently ruthless side who won through goals from Riyad Mahrez (2), Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gudogan.

Warnock acknowledged the divide in class between the teams and added: “It was a long afternoon.

“We are finding difficult at the moment against the top clubs. The quality was there for everyone to see. So we have to make sure it counts against the other 13 teams we play. That’s where we’re going to get our points.

“But, like I have said before, it’s not going to define our season. It will knock our chins to the floor for a bit, but the lads have got to get over this and get on with next week.”

“You hope you do learn from them. I thought at 2-1 last week at 80 minutes we had a chance of getting something out the game and we concede four.

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“I thought at 30 minutes today we had a chance and we concede five.

“But I thought the crowd were unbelievable again today. Even at the death, they were singing and chanting. It’s amazing really. It’s really important because if they weren’t, games like today would be terrible.

“But they got behind us in their numbers and I’m sure they will next week as well. Because they know, like us, how important games like next week are.”

Cardiff also lost full-back Lee Peltier with a dislocated shoulder, which Warnock expects will keep the defender out for a number of months.

Guardiola insisted it was his players who deserved their place in the spotlight, rather than the manager’s own return to the dugout.

Guardiola was back on the touchline in the Welsh capital and the champions were back in the old routine, despite the blip of their midweek defeat at home to Lyon in the Champions League.

The City boss had watched that match from high in the stands as he served out a suspension, but he played down any significance from being closer to the action as  Mahrez scored twice, his first goals for the club, in an emphatic victory which lifted them to second in the Premier League table.

“I don’t play,” said Guardiola, after watching Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gudogan help his team score five or more goals for the 10th time since the Spaniard took charge before the 2016-17 season.

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“The managers, we are there to be there when they have little doubts, to support them.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with these guys. It’s the same group, they keep reacting, they are an exceptional group.

“But they know how, when the situation is not good in terms of results, the closer I am to them. They deserve all my respect. They made me happy the last two seasons, and that’s why, always, I will be with them.”

City were 3-0 ahead and cruising at half-time, before Mahrez replaced Aguero on the hour mark and scored twice – his first goals since his £60m move from Leicester City in July.

The Algerian has only started two Premier League games for the champions and Guardiola admitted he wished he could offer more minutes on the field to both Mahrez and young England hopeful Phil Foden, who also came off the bench in the second-half.

“It’s good for him to get the first goals,” added Guardiola. “Of course it’s important for him. He came here, he’s an incredibly talent player. He deserves to play more minutes, like Phil Foden.

“It’s a pleasure to watch Phil play football and, of course, Riyad as well. But the season is too long and they have to be ready, prepared, because they are going to play a lot of minutes.”

City are now only two points behind leaders Liverpool and emphatically undermined any suggestions their European blip might leak into their domestic form.

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They toyed with Cardiff for much of a one-sided contest, were slick as well as ruthless, and if they had doubled their scoreline then the Bluebirds, who dropped to one from bottom, could have had few complaints.

Guardiola added: “After a not good result in midweek, we responded with the same level we had for the last 12 or 13 months.

“The first 20-25 minutes is always complicated, not easy, but after one or two goals immediately it was easier.”

 

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