03 February 2024

Erol Bulut feels time off helped Cardiff end rut at Watford

03 February 2024

Cardiff manager Erol Bulut felt rest and recuperation was behind his side’s 1-0 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road.

Bulut gave his squad an extended break from training last week and their extra energy proved vital in holding off a late Watford onslaught.

Josh Bowler’s superb 43rd-minute strike gave Cardiff a first win since New Year’s Day and moved them to within five points of the Championship play-off places.

Bulut said: “After a few weeks of not winning points we were disappointed, so the three days off that we gave the players refreshed our team.

“Everybody came back with a clear mind and an analysis about themselves and about what they need to do to play much better.

“I think the whole team did really good work today. When you do your job well as a team, it makes it easier.”

Bulut also credited the club’s greater strength in depth following the January transfer market.

The Welsh club brought in six players in the final two days of the transfer window, with David Turnbull and Josh Wilson-Esbrand coming on substitutes to see out the victory.

“In the past I also spoke about only having 16 players, but now at least we can make changes,” Burut said.

“Before, when we had a few injuries, we were fighting in matches, but sometimes even fighting in matches was not enough, not everything. Now it looks much better.

“We worked with the new players, but they still need to know our playing style better. In the coming days and weeks, the qualities of the players will show up much, much better. They will help us a lot in the next 17 games.”

Watford, who sit a point above Cardiff, have not won a league match at Vicarage Road since November 28 and have not scored a goal from open play in their past four games.

Manager Valerien Ismael said: “There’s a big frustration tonight. I have the feeling that over 90 minutes, we should win the game. Yes, our opponents were disciplined, but they had one shot on target and scored the goal.

“It’s painful to lose at home again because we want to give something to our fans. This is a setback for us because we need to use the home games to be strong. So today for me is a tough one to take.

“We said to the players at half-time. ‘You need to step up and believe in yourselves because I believe in you and we believe in you’.

“After the substitutions it was much better. We dominated the ball and we created chances, but in the final third it’s more about desire.

“We need to be nasty in the opponents’ box to get in front of defenders, to make sure you are always there.”

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