Junior Hoilett’s piledriver secured a third Premier League win for the Bluebirds
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 30/11/18 11:20pm
Neil Warnock praised the resilience of his Cardiff side after they secured a 2-1 win over Wolves on the eve of his 70th birthday.
Matt Doherty’s close-range finish put Wolves ahead after 18 minutes, however, Aron Gunnarsson’s scruffy effort levelled matters for Cardiff after 65 minutes.
Junior Hoilett’s stunning long-range curler turned the game on its head 12 minutes later and moved Cardiff out of the relegation zone after recording back-to-back top-flight home wins for the first time since 1961-62
Warnock, though, felt his side deserved all three points at the Cardiff City Stadium, having been unfortunate to end the first half a goal behind.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the full-time whistle, Warnock told the Friday Night Football panel of Kelly Cates, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher: “I was really proud of them tonight. We were 1-0 down at half-time – I didn’t think we deserved to be, but that’s how it was. I thought, second half, we were on the front foot, most of the time, really.
“Gunnars [Aron Gunnarsson] knows he made a mistake; we’d just told him about Doherty pulling off and making sure to get the second ball but he’s apologised. I thought, second half, we had some good opportunities. Yes, we could get caught on the break but I thought we wanted it more tonight.”
Doherty’s first-half strike means Cardiff, alongside Newcastle, have now conceded a joint-Premier League-high seven goals from set-pieces this season and Warnock admitted his frustration at the statistic, with his team having prided themselves on defensive solidity since he took over in October 2016.
He added: “It was our strength last year, but no matter what you say and no matter how much you work on it, you can’t do anything about it if lads don’t [do what they are supposed to do]. But they are all doing their best and you can’t have a go, we’ve just got to work harder to make sure we defend even better.
“In the first half, I don’t think we picked up enough second balls and we were waiting for things to happen. We were a little bit, not in awe, but a little bit apprehensive. I said at half-time, ‘We’re in the Premier League, let’s have a go at them! Let’s close them down, let’s play in their faces And I thought we did that.
“Not just getting the ball, second balls, we wanted it that second half and I’m so pleased for them.”
Man-of-the-match Hoilett has struggled in front of goal this term following an 11-goal haul in the Championship last season and, though Warnock joked that deploying the Canadian at left wing-back caused him “sleepless minutes” last night, he praised his impact across the pitch.
He said: “I must admit, last night, I did have a few sleepless minutes because I had Junior Hoilett and Victor [Camarasa] as wing-backs! But we wanted to have a go. Last year, we beat them up at Molineux, but down here last year they dominated us from the back, the centre-halves had possession and we never got amongst them, really.
“I spoke to Junior before the game – he’s not had a great time this season – and I spoke to Vincent [Tan, Cardiff’s owner] in Kuala Lumpur and he said you’re not having enough shots. I said to him, ‘Vincent, I’m playing Junior at left wing-back, he’s going to shoot from everywhere!’
“That is a great goal and I think he showed – not just attacking but defensive-wise too – he did a great job tonight.”