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Ole out of his depth

Cardiff City Apr 7, 2014
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A mess on and off the field

Cardiff City Mar 4, 2014
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Feb 23, 2014

Cardiff suffer home hammering as relegation beckons

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is struggling to keep control of his Cardiff City side after witnessing an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat by Hull City.

- Report: Cardiff City 0-4 Hull City

The rookie Premier League manager is starting to look hopelessly out of his depth as the Bluebirds hurtle towards relegation back to The Championship. Cardiff City are on course to blow their first chance at being a Premier League side and they are doing so in spectacular style. A season that started with such promise after beating Manchester City, drawing with Everton and beating Fulham at Craven Cottage to go above Manchester United after six games played has descended into a shambles. In fact, the wheels started to come off after that Fulham win back in September. Reports followed that player bonuses had not been paid after promotion and that Vincent Tan was sticking his nose into the dressing room and upsetting the close knit team spirit instilled by Malky Mackay. Soon after that, Mackay's head of recruitment was sacked and the run-up to Christmas saw the gradual undermining of the manager until he was finally dismissed after the 3-0 defeat by Southampton. Tan opted for a celebrity manager in Solskjaer. It was a risk hiring a man who had never managed at Premier League level and who needed to stabilise a club that had their confidence and spirit ripped out of it. Solskjaer got a couple of early wins in the FA Cup and managed a home win over Norwich in the Premier League, but his overall League record is not good and what makes it worse is that he doesn't seem to quite know what he is doing. Solskjaer's solution for trying to find a winning side is just to change random players. Cardiff's last league game was a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa. Ben Turner was immense that day but Solskjaer dropped him for a new signing and Cardiff concede four goals. Hull City came to Cardiff City Stadium and kept their composure when Cardiff tried to put them under pressure, and they took their chances when they came. Cardiff huffed and puffed, spread the ball from right to left, back to front and looked busy in the opening twenty minutes but all their effort was in vain. There was a lack of quality again in front of goal from the home side. Hull, on the other hand, made no such mistake when in sight of the target. The visitors had six shots on target and they scored from four of them. Their finishing was top class and despite seeing less possession, they were a class above Cardiff when it came to winning the football match. Solskjaer has been given funds to bring in players but he has not improved the squad. His first three signings were all fellow Norwegians and of those only Mats Moller Daehli looks to have something special about him. The signings from the Premier League are struggling to make an impact. Kenwyne Jones, apart from a goal against Norwich, has offered nothing more than Andreas Cornelius could have given. Wilfried Zaha tries so many tricks he thinks he's Dynamo. Unfortunately, he is not that good. Fabio Da Silva actually had a decent game against Hull, but previously he has struggled to impress. Juan Cala, who started in front of Turner is a good footballer. Starting him sent out the wrong message though. Turner deserved to keep his place. Don Cowie started the match against Hull. He has barely been involved in the first team for months. It seemed like a desperate roll of the dice from Solskjaer. I questioned Mackay's cautious approach enough times when he was in charge, but I'd take him back as manager right now if Cardiff want any chance of staying up. The team spirit, never say die attitude and professional work ethic instilled by Mackay is very sadly lacking under Solskjaer. The defeat by Hull forced an immediate cancellation of a trip to the Middle East for warm weather training. The players were due to fly out to Abu Dhabi on Sunday but must now train in the UK ahead of next weekend's trip to Spurs. Cardiff are still just a result or two away from safety, but to be honest I can't see where another win is coming from -- let alone the five wins likely to be needed from the final eleven games to ensure survival. The blame for this debacle falls on the shoulders of one man. Vincent Tan. His decision making, timing and public relations are a mess. He has seriously mis-read the football business and has taken something beautiful and turned it into an embarrassment. Since Solskjaer took over, Cardiff's points per game ratio has dropped. They are dead men walking, I'm afraid. Five-thousand extra seats are being added to the stadium as it hosts the European Super Cup later this year. The match between the winners of the Champions League and the winners of the Europa League might be the last time for a while we see top flight teams running out at a football stadium in the Welsh capital. It will be interesting to see how many new season tickets are sold. I doubt we will ever find out the exact numbers but unless there's an immediate upturn in results, then the days of a sold out Cardiff City Stadium are numbered. At the final whistle against Hull a few boos were heard. But it was only a half-hearted reaction because most of the crowd had already gone and those left in the stadium could only manage a shoulder shrug as the reality of a first relegation in over a decade hit home.