By Paul Jones
Sabri Lamouchi insisted he had a major regret over his eye-catching double Cardiff City substitution after just half an hour of their defeat to Sunderland – he should have done it sooner.
The Bluebirds boss hooked Jaden Philogene and Sheyi Ojo after just 36 minutes of their deeply damaging 1-0 reverse at home to the Black Cats.
But after a defeat that leaves them just a point above the relegation zone with just six matches to go, Lamouchi savaged his players and questioned their attitude.
The Frenchman was left in a fury after watching his team outplayed by a young Sunderland team who scored the winner through Dennis Cirkin, but could have won far more comfortably if they had taken other chances.
Lamouchi’s decision to make changes in the first-half was the product of his deep frustration at the low quality of their display and he was in no mood to hide his anger after the final whistle.
— Cardiff City Online (@CardiffCityLive) April 10, 2023
Asked if he had been too hasty in making changes, he blasted: “It wasn’t too early, I probably should have done it earlier.”
“I don’t regret the changes, because I didn’t want to wait until they scored a goal.
“I tried to change the mind of my team and it was the wrong mentality. I must do something before the break, because we were so deep, we were so… I don’t want to say the word, but not so good.”
Philogene threw off his gloves in anger when he was taken off, but when asked about that, Lamouchi said: “He needs to understand why I’m angry.
It’s my responsibility to try something, because to stay in this shape, probably something will happen.
“I want to send a message to the team and the players. Move on, try and do something – I tried to something after 35 minutes, I tried to do something during the break, I tried to do something 10 or 15 minutes into the second half. But it was not enough.
“To be honest with you, when you ask about bad starts against Swansea, Blackpool, here, right, but the small details, we are not there. The small details is you against you and in this moment they are against you. We need to be more angry, have more character.
“I am happy my captain can stay on the bench because he felt a problem in his adductor, he showed the right character in the last half an hour. But he can’t play from minute one – he was supposed to start, unfortunately he had some physical problems – so I asked him to stay on the bench and it was probably the best decision, because when he came on, something changed. I try for my side, we try on the pitch, but it was not enough.”
36 – City make a double change – Jack Simpson and Andy Rinomhota replace Sheyi Ojo and Jaden Philogene. (0-0)
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) April 10, 2023
The defeat leaves Cardiff in 21st place and thankful for Reading’s recent six-point deduction, which is the only thing keeping the Bluebirds out of the bottom three.
But Cardiff’s run-in looks a tough one with four of their remaining six matches away from home and two of those visits to the top two, Sheffield United and Burnley.
Lamouchi added: “When you are losing you are always disappointed, but I’m more disappointed about the first half.
“The second was a little bit better. We can’t concede a goal in the second half like that. We cannot start the game in this way – there was a bad attitude in the first half and it was a bad performance. We made some changes and probably we could have made some more.
“We cannot concede a goal in this way, with the ball going through men in the wall after giving away a stupid foul. We were probably a little bit better in the second half, good enough to create two or three chances to score, but we didn’t score. We didn’t deserve more than we got.”
Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray said: “We lacked a bit of a cutting edge and ruthlessness in the box.
“Someone who makes their living from scoring goals is probably what is missing. We knew they had physicality in their team and they are fighting for their lives and I was happy with the way we saw things out. You could see Cardiff’s spirit and togetherness.
“I would think, with the backing of their support, they will find enough to get some wins between now and the end of the season.
“When you look at our fixtures on paper, if we are at our best at home against Birmingham City on Saturday we can win.
“At home against Huddersfield on Tuesday, despite the really good run Neil (Warnock) has got them on, we could win. If we can make it nine points from this game and the next two, we won’t be far off it.”
— Football Away Days (@FBAwayDays) April 10, 2023