Steve Morison credited his own pep talk to super substitute James Collins with sowing the seeds for Cardiff’s 2-1 Championship comeback win over Preston.
Second-half strikes from Mark McGuinness and Collins helped the Bluebirds take three points in Morison’s first game as permanent manager.
And it seems the new City chief, who took four points from a possible nine as caretaker, had a direct hand in building Collins’ confidence.
“I spoke to him on Thursday and said to him ‘I know you are desperate to start’,” said Morison.
“I could see him making an impact, so I would rather bring him on and see the game out than start him and bring the younger lads on at the death to see the game out.
“It worked – the conversations are good. You let them know exactly what you are thinking at the plans.
“James hasn’t scored all season, one game, one goal, he must be happy.”
In a genuine game of two halves, the home side were dominant in the first 45 minutes and ended up rueing missed chances that should have seen them more than one up at half-time.
They hit the front after two minutes when Ryan Ledson curled the ball into the danger area and Sean Maguire steered it home at the back post.
Collins replaced Chanka Zimba at half-time for Cardiff and the striker nearly made an immediate impact, firing just wide.
The visitors were much-improved after the break and got their rewards when Will Vaulks swung in a free-kick and McGuinness beat Daniel Iversen with a downward header.
The winner came from another set-piece as Ryan Giles found Collins, whose header hit the back of the net and earned Cardiff a vital three points, putting distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
“Bad start, great end,” Morison added. “I can’t believe that you work all week for something and then after 90 seconds you are one-nil down. It was tough.
“We changed the shape just before half-time and it helped us massively and then there was a great reaction from the lads in the second half.”
The result dragged Preston back towards the mire and Frankie McAvoy’s men sit six points clear of the relegation zone.
“We did not defend our box well enough in the second half,” said McAvoy.
“Set plays are a big thing for Cardiff. We worked on it, we set it up to defend our box well.
“The first half we did it, the second half they brought on James Collins and that changed it for them a bit.
“They started to put a bit of directness towards our goal and we conceded two set-plays.
“In the main we’ve been really good at it and now I’m so disappointed having just seen the two goals back.
“We tried to change it to get ourselves back into the game but unfortunately we didn’t do enough so I’m bitterly disappointed.
“We were winning the game and we should be going off not having conceded the two goals. Unfortunately we are.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.