Soccer

Erol Bulut happy with ‘big progress’ as Cardiff keep another clean sheet

Erol Bulut had few complaints after Cardiff’s draw at Stoke (Robbie Stephenson/PA)
Erol Bulut had few complaints after Cardiff’s draw at Stoke (Robbie Stephenson/PA) Erol Bulut had few complaints after Cardiff’s draw at Stoke (Robbie Stephenson/PA)

Erol Bulut praised the progress of his Cardiff side despite being held to a goalless draw by Stoke.

The visiting Bluebirds dropped out of the Championship play-off fray after a frustrating afternoon in the Potteries.

Callum Robinson came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half as his deflected cutback ricocheted off the post.

And Ryan Wintle, who scored in the same fixture last season, nearly notched a late winner but was denied by Jack Bonham.

However, Cardiff still extended their unbeaten run to three games thanks to a third successive clean sheet, much to the pleasure of Bulut.

“I’m really happy with my players, they’ve made big progress,” said the Cardiff boss.

“It’s not easy for many players here when we remember the last two years with what’s happened and how we started pre-season and the first games.

“It’s not easy to change everything in a positive way. Right now we’ve done it but we need to continue in that way and keep believing in our target.

“We knew that it was going to be a tight game because Stoke have had three great wins against great teams.

“In the first half, we weren’t like what I expect from my team. The second half was so much better and in the end I’m happy with a point.

“We have to look forward and it’ll be good for us to keep our run of clean sheets.

“We had more shots on the goal and we were closer to scoring a goal than Stoke. We had enough chances to score but, in the end, we didn’t.

“Second half, we were much better in our offensive shape but the last pass was not good enough.

“We pressed them higher and got more chances in the second half. If we started like that, maybe the result would have been different.”

Despite three successive wins prior to the tie, Stoke were limited to a solitary shot on target.

However, boss Alex Neil was still encouraged as his resurgent side kept a third consecutive clean sheet of their own.

“A point was probably a fair result but obviously we wanted to win it,” said Neil.

“We played extremely well in the past three games and all our chances today came in the first half.

“We had two or three really good chances to score but unfortunately didn’t take any.

“If we take a chance then it becomes a different game, but then in the second half we played ourselves into trouble when we were trying to play.

“We were wasteful with the ball more than what we’ve been, and that’s the biggest thing I’ll take from the game.

“I put five different players on the pitch to try and influence the game and give us the impetus in the match, but they’re not an easy team to play against.

“The lads are despondent and disappointed but I’m happy with that return [of 10 points from four games].

“That’s the type of game last year that we’d have lost, where we didn’t take our opportunities and then it turns and we end up losing the game.

“If you can’t win, don’t lose. They didn’t deserve to win based on our chances in the first half and we didn’t deserve to win based on our second half.”