Neil Harris insists Cardiff City are moving on from the route one era under Neil Warnock – even though results have stalled.
After starting his reign with a draw and three straight victories, Harris’s Bluebirds have not managed a victory in three games and sit in the middle of the Championship, four points adrift of the play-off places.
The latest frustration – a goalless draw at home to Preston – was achieved with little excitement but Harris says the team is evolving from the type of football they were renowned for under previous manager Warnock.
“You can see our transition period from being a team that liked to play really direct to a team that likes to play a little bit more,” claimed Harris.
“I thought we lacked creativity against Preston. We didn’t make chances, nowhere as many as we’ve made. Where we’ve made 10 or 12 in recent games, seven or eight of those were really good ones.
“This time, we didn’t create any of them. Credit goes to Preston for that, defensively. I thought the two teams cancelled each other out a lot.
“In some ways I am pleased, because we got a clean sheet and looked relatively reliable… but we lacked creativity. Credit goes to Preston. But we weren’t good enough in possession.
“I wouldn’t say I am grateful for a point, there wasn’t much in it, but Preston look a well-oiled ship after two years with Alex Neil.”
Joe Ralls was a surprise absentee from the Cardiff side, and manager Harris revealed he will be without the key man over Christmas after he suffered a broken hand.
He said: “It’s a blow, we just got him back and now he will miss a period with a broken hand he picked up in the Leeds game.
“It is a shame as we just got him back and I have been clear he is going to be an instrumental player in my side.
“We also had Joe Bennett go down in training with an Achilles injury. Will he be ready for the Christmas period? I don’t know. We will assess him again. The Achilles is a fatigue injury.”
Cardiff only managed to register their first shot on target in stoppage time of the second half, when a Lee Tomlin lob was tipped over by Declan Rudd.
Both sides had to settle for a share of the points after a lively four minutes of injury time, but Neil believes his side deserved all three points.
He said: “Everybody who watched the game would have recognised we were far the better team, Cardiff didn’t have a shot on target.
“We had great opportunities, we dominated the game, had more of the ball and better chances, it was just that final bit.
“If you don’t get the first goal against Cardiff, it’s very difficult to break them down. That first goal makes them chase the game and you can create things off the back of that.
“I’m pleased with how we played but disappointed we didn’t win because we’ve played worse than that this year and still won.
“It’s frustrating, we’ll score harder chances than we had today. That little bit of quality wasn’t there, whether it be the final pass or shot.
“We had unbelievable opportunities in terms of overloads and transitions but the final pass wasn’t good enough
“I’ve always said, if we’re in the top six come the end of January, we would have had a fantastic season, but then we should really kick on.”