By Paul Jones
Mahlon Romeo has told his Cardiff City teammates they must set higher standards if they want to continue their impressive start to the Championship season.
The Bluebirds defender – who arrived from Millwall as part of manager Steve Morison’s summer revolution – is demanding his teammates raise their expectations as they find themselves fifth in the table after three matches with their next game away to West Brom on Wednesday night.
Romeo has started in all three of Cardiff’s matches so far and the 26-year-old looks as if he will be a key player for the club this season.
“For us, we want to do the best we can and get the most points possible. The higher the bar you set, the more you have to strive for it,” said Romeo.
“All we can do is keep playing well. There are loads of games left to play for this season, so we’ve just got to keep going.
“From what we’ve done in training and pre-season, I’ve not been surprised in the standards we’ve been showing on the pitch.
“The dynamic of the football club makes it easy for new players to settle into the club. The staff and coaching staff have made it really easy for us as new players.
I was definitely sceptical about Mahlon Romeo and I’m so happy he’s proved me wrong. He’s been outstanding so far.
Callum O’Dowda just needs to stay injury-free! https://t.co/MRpM7z994X
— Three Little Birds (@ThreeBluebirds_) August 14, 2022
“It’s easy to say everything is clicking into place, but we’re only three games in. The Championship is a marathon, not a sprint.
“A lot of players have been brought in to implement this new style of football, and so far, it’s looking good.”
Jaden Philogene’s first half strike was enough to earn Cardiff a 1-0 win over Birmingham on Saturday lunchtime.
The 20-year-old Aston Villa loanee hit the winner after just 17 minutes at the Cardiff City Stadium, connecting with a Callum O’Dowda square ball to tap in his first goal for the club from close range.
Cardiff were the better side before the break and should have put the game beyond doubt, but after a penalty shout for either side in the second half, John Eustace’s side could not muster enough in the final third to draw level.
The Bluebirds moved up to fifth in the embryonic Championship table, with Birmingham two points behind in 11th.
Romeo added: “It was a proper good win. We set the standard against Norwich, fell short at Reading, but we can’t respond much better than with a clean sheet and three points today.
Thought Mahlon Romeo put in a monster performance today. Callum O’Dowda great, too, has got off to a blistering start at Cardiff #CCFC #Bluebirds https://t.co/uD2LdB6EwF
— Glen Williams (@GlenWilliams12) August 13, 2022
“The gaffer said before the game that we had to turn up physically to earn the right to play, and I thought we did that well enough.
“I’m really enjoying my time here. Cardiff City is a massive club, and naturally knowing the gaffer from before obviously had a part in me signing for the club.”
Morison has been impressed with Romeo’s impact at his new club after the two played together when Morison was at Millwall.
“I think he set the tone (against Birmingham),” said Morison.
“That tackle in the first few minutes got everyone off their seats! I thought he was excellent. There were bodies on the floor, right at the death of the game, putting their bodies on the line, they were excellent.
“He’s solid, a different player to what I played with. He’s a bit more defensively-minded than what he was previously.
🎙 “I thought they were brilliant first half, I thought they were absolutely excellent”
Cardiff Manager Steve Morison was full of praise for his squad after their 1-0 win against Birmingham 👇 pic.twitter.com/GhoEJeF84U
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) August 13, 2022
“We’re trying to bring out the old Mahlon, the one who was galloping and I thought he did that really well in the first half. I thought he was excellent, as was Jamilu Collins.
“Perry Ng came back in, and you could see how much we missed him when he didn’t play. With and without the ball, he was brilliant.
“The pleasing thing is that although we didn’t score all of the chances, we created them. If we keep playing like that, we’ll score more than we don’t.”