How Cardiff’s season ended in relegation
Cardiff’s relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on Saturday evening following a 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look back at the Bluebirds’ season.
The £15million club record transfer of Emiliano Sala from Nantes during the January transfer window was supposed to bring the goals to help keep the Bluebirds in the top flight, but ended in tragedy.
The Argentinian striker had been returning to Wales from France when the plane he was aboard crashed in the English channel on January 21. The body of the pilot, David Ibbotson has not been found.
The continued efforts of Cardiff boss Neil Warnock to get the best out of his squad were not helped by revelations the club were being guided over the fitness of Victor Camarasa by the midfielder’s own medical staff.
Camarasa joined the club on loan from Real Betis but had been hampered by a calf problem during February.
Warnock said: “He obviously listens to his physios, his medical people and Tom, Dick and Harry from abroad. He’s a very important player for us and it’s been a really big disappointment.
“I’ve never come across the situation I’ve got at the moment. We’re having physios and medical people from abroad telling us what we can do with him when he is our player.”
The Bluebirds were deprived of dependable defender Sol Bamba for the relegation run-in after the Ivory Coast international ruptured his cruciate knee ligament in the 2-0 defeat at Wolves on March 2.
The 34-year-old had started all except one Premier League match and on the pitch was the driving force behind the team’s efforts to beat the odds.
“It is a major blow to the squad,” Warnock said, as the news was confirmed Bamba would be set for surgery and a lengthy spell of rehabilitation.
Pitch battles lost
Whatever off-field battles Cardiff had to endure, their fate was ultimately sealed by failing to deliver enough consistent performances on the pitch.
It took nine games for them to register a first league win, beating fellow promoted side Fulham at home.
Drubbings by Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham were always on the cards this season, but failing to make the most of opportunities against the top-flight’s also rans – particularly at home – proved too costly.
Cardiff gave themselves hope with a hard-earned 2-0 win at Brighton to keep alive their survival dreams but it proved a false dawn.
A subsequent 1-0 loss at already-relegated Fulham swiftly all but ended realistic ambitions of another season among the elite.