Mick McCarthy reckons Cardiff City can look up the table after getting their play-off hopes back on track with a 1-0 win at Swansea City in the Welsh derby.
The Bluebirds now sit four points outside the top six after Aden Flint’s early header proved to be the winner for Cardiff, but left Swansea in danger of losing touch with the automatic promotion places.
Cardiff faced the prospect of a relegation battle when McCarthy took over from Neil Harris, but they are now looking up after an important, battling triumph over their fiercest rivals.
“I’m delighted,” the former Republic of Ireland boss told the press after the game. “I’m going to put a coat hanger upside down in my mouth to keep the smile on my face.
“I’m delighted for the players who put a real shift in. It was a stoic performance.
“We knew how Swansea were going to play. The pride and bragging rights were at stake and I can see why the lads celebrated the way they did because apparently they did that at our place earlier in the season, so good for them.”
It was Cardiff’s first derby win since 2013, and the decisive moment came in the eighth minute from a trademark set-piece.
Will Vaulks launched in a long throw and it dropped to Marlon Park, whose poked effort on goal was brilliantly saved by Freddie Woodman. But Flint reacted quicker than the home defence to power home a header.
That defeat for Swansea dealt another blow to their automatic promotion hopes, but head coach Steve Cooper believed his side were the better team.
Cooper claimed his Swans side “dominated every stat except for the important one” after it was Cardiff who took the bragging rights at the Liberty Stadium.
“We concede a really soft goal form a long throw which we knew was coming,” said Cooper. “It was a cruel game because we did everything but score. We were by far the superior team.”