After the 1-0 defeat at Leeds United on Tuesday evening, a lot of impatient fans have suddenly begun calling for Russell Slade to be removed as manager. Here are five key reasons as to why Cardiff City should stick with Russell Slade as the man in charge.
Cardiff City: Five Reasons to stick with Russell Slade
When Slade was appointed as manager of Cardiff City in October of last year, the club was in a dire situation and could have easily followed the likes of Wolves who had fallen from the dizzy heights of the Premier League down to League One after successive relegations.
Stability and Identity
After Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s disastrous period in charge, Slade’s immediate responsibility was to re-introduce the stability of the team on the pitch that Malky Mackay had initiated during his successful tenure. Slade was appointed on October 6th with the club sitting in 15th position of the Championship table, after a shocking 1-0 defeat at Blackpool, overseen by joint-caretaker managers Danny Gabbidon and Scott Young.
Cardiff City finished the 2014-2015 Championship season in 11th position, a sound accomplishment for the manager many fans expected to be dismissed before the season had ended. Credit where credit is due for the man who has vast experience in the lower echelons of the footballing pyramid, a man who has yet to be promoted or relegated whilst at the helm of a Football League club, it was clear that Slade had achieved his first objective of re-introducing stability back to a club lacking an identity.
During the last league campaign, the Bluebirds leaked 61 goals and only kept 10 clean sheets; three more than in their Premier League campaign against the attacks of Manchester City, Manchester Untied, Chelsea and Arsenal the season before. This season Slade has already tightened up the defence which proved ineffective last year, by creating a defensive unit solidified by the ever-present central pairing of Sean Morrison and Matthew Connolly. Fábio and Lee Peltier have been the chosen full backs this season for Cardiff City, with Scott Malone as back-up to Fábio, whose form has been one of the seasons highlights. The settled back four have conceded just 12 goals in 15 league matches, six goals less that at the same stage last season.
David Marshall’s form has been consistently brilliant regardless of which manager had been present in the dugout. This season – apart from obtaining a foolish red card at Rotherham – Marshall has been in sparkling form between the posts, with some majestic saves against Bristol City, Ipswich Town and Leeds United, helping Cardiff City keeping six clean sheets already this season, four short of last years tally.
Cutting the ‘golden’ Cloth
Another on-going target for Russell Slade has been to significantly reduce the clubs wage bill, which stood at £46 million during the Premier League campaign. The wage bill had already been reduced after the relegation from the Premier League, but Slade has managed to reduce it by a further £12 million whilst sustaining a squad that this season, has been in-and-around the top ten of the division as they chase their end of season target – a play-off spot after missing out by 16 points last year.
Training and Fitness
The introduction of Paul Trollope to the Cardiff City coaching staff has been a successful appointment by Slade and chairman Mehmet Dalman. Trollope has assisted in giving the team the stability it needed on the pitch and more importantly helping the players find their on-field identity, with each player aware of their exact duties during 90 minutes.
With Solskjaer in charge, the aim of the team on the pitch was to play a more attractive ‘brand’ of football — a term the ‘up-and-coming’ managers around tend to toss into conversations – by keeping the ball on the ground, in an attempt to ‘wow’ fans with the style they have set to play.
In playing this way, Cardiff were a team physically over-powered and were not able to battle against opponents whilst also failing in their ability to play the ‘ball on the ground’ style. Under Slade the fitness has been improved drastically and now it’s clear to see the team are able to fight for results, a trait all fans love to see in their team.
Record and Fans
His record is fairly impressive considering his squads have not been lavished with talent as it had been under predecessors Solskjaer, Mackay and Dave Jones. His win ratio currently stands at 39% whilst Jones and Mackay are only slightly ahead on 41% and 43% respectively. In 51 matches in charge he has won 20, drawn 15 and lost 16, scoring 65 goals and conceding 62.
Although his record is fairly impressive there is definitely room for improvement and he will be hoping the fans start to accept him as the club’s manager with a turn in results. After a quiet period, the defeat to Leeds United has brought a lot of anti-Slade fans to the fore, waiting for Slade to make a mistake and then pouncing to slate the manager on social media.
The relationship between Slade and the Bluebirds faithful has been tepid, ever since his appointment – which is understandable, as he had never managed at the Championship level and the appointment felt unwarranted. Despite this, Slade has steadied the ship which is what the majority of fans called for after the dismissal of Solskjaer. He will have to do more publicly and with the team to win around a lot of disheartened fans that will still be calling for him to go. Slade asked to be judged after 12 games of the Championship season and until the defeat to Leeds, many were satisfied with how the team were getting on.
Losing to Leeds United was a disappointing result, a team Cardiff had not lost against in 16 attempts, including the most famous victory against the Whites – a 2-1 FA cup win in 2002. Slade has the chance to bring supporters back on side against Reading this afternoon although many fans could be hoping a defeat would see the end of his reign.