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Exclusive: Ian Holloway issues Mick McCarthy verdict as Cardiff City struggles continue

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Discovery+ and Quest pundit Ian Holloway admits he does not know quite why things are not working out for Mick McCarthy at Cardiff City at the minute, but says he believes the Bluebirds manager could still turn things around if given the chance.

McCarthy took over from Neil Harris as Cardiff manager back in January, and enjoyed a strong start to life in the Welsh capital.

An impressive second half of the 2020/21 campaign for Cardiff under McCarthy saw the Bluebirds narrowly miss out on a play-off place, eventually claiming eighth in the second-tier standings.

That saw McCarthy handed a new long-term contract with Cardiff, securing his future with the club until the end of the 2022/23 season.

Since then however, things have taken a downward turn for McCarthy and the Bluebirds, with Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Reading making it seven defeats in Cardiff’s last eight games.

Such a drop in form has seen Cardiff slide to 20th in the Championship table, just three points clear of the relegation zone.

Perhaps not surprisingly, that has seen frustrations grow among the Cardiff City fanbase, with some now calling for McCarthy’s departure.

Now, Holloway has admitted that he is surprised by the Bluebirds’ recent form, and has suggested a number of reasons for that, despite the fact that he still believes in McCarthy’s abilities as a manager.

Speaking about the situation that McCarthy finds himself in at Cardiff, Holloway exclusively told Football League World: “Mick’s a great friend of mine. I watched the game last weekend (a 5-1 defeat at Blackburn) and the first goal was so unlike Mick’s team. It was a long ball over the top and they didn’t get there first.

“There was no pressure on, you could see he was going to play it, so I couldn’t understand it.

“For me he’s got a mountain to climb because of the expectations of the Cardiff City fans and they’ll know that because it’s a big big club, absolutely massive.

“Mick made a massive difference last season, almost got in the play-offs and I can’t understand it. 

“But I haven’t seen the ins and outs, I don’t know the financial difficulties they might be having, normally that’s what impedes someone of Mick’s experience. Maybe they’ve got some injuries I don’t know.

“Normally, with the experience Mick’s got, one or two bad results at the start of the season doesn’t affect him, but as we all know it might affect crowds these days and what is expected.

“I’m sure he’ll have words with them, get back out on the training ground.

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“My experience of Covid, and the extra problems it could cause to your playing group, and the way you practice, that can be very very difficult to deal with so maybe he’s had some of that going on, I’m not in a position to say.

“Am I surprised at the last few performances, or results at least? Yes I am, because when I look at their squad player for player, I’m quite impressed with it, but maybe they’re not all selectable.

“So without studying it, I can can’t really put my finger on why. But who would I want being manager of my club? Probably Mick McCarthy if I had one.”

You can watch all of the EFL highlights on discovery+ and Quest.


UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

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Article title: Exclusive: Ian Holloway issues Mick McCarthy verdict as Cardiff City struggles continue

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