Solskjaer relishing crunch clash

25 April 2014 01:01

Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he cannot wait for Sunday's noon showdown with fellow Barclays Premier League relegation candidates Sunderland.

Both clubs are battling for top-flight survival, suggesting there will be plenty of frayed nerves at the Stadium of Light.

Cardiff could climb out of the bottom three if they win, and Solskjaer's team will head north following victory at Southampton and a draw against Stoke.

Sunderland, though, trumped that by holding Manchester City to a draw and then winning away against title-chasing Chelsea last weekend.

"If you look at the league table, it's just as big for both of us," Solskjaer said.

"It is still so tight down at the bottom that a win will be hugely needed for both us, while a draw is probably no good for either of us.

"I wouldn't be in football if I was nervous. You have to look forward to games. I used to do that as a player, and I do that now. The waiting time is the worst.

"At the moment, it is just about the Sunderland game. We go into it focused, and we have prepared really well. I can't wait."

Cardiff looked down and out when they slumped to a 3-0 home defeat against Crystal Palace just three weeks ago, but the Southampton win and a point against in-form Stoke revived hopes of staying up.

"I think the last few weeks have boosted all the players," Solskjaer added.

"The last two games, definitely, have given us a boost. We are going into this game in good form, which is a big thing.

"We are away from home, but we went away to Southampton and beat them. We go there with belief that we can get something.

"It's about us going up there and performing, sticking together as we did against Southampton and Stoke, and continuing what we have done this week.

"There are three games to go now, and we are within two points of Norwich. We have got a chance.

"You do think that a win is what you need. A draw would not be favourable for either of us. Fulham and Norwich would probably be happy with a draw.

"In a normal season, one team would be adrift, but it is such a different league this year. It is so tight at the top, so tight at the bottom, so you expected it to go to the last game.

"It's being built up, and it is a massive game.

"For us, we don't go into a game worrying about what everyone else thinks. We prepare for a game the way we think it is going to pan out, and then do our job."

The magnitude of the game, meanwhile, is not lost on Cardiff's players, with midfielder Peter Whittingham - whose second-half penalty secured a point against Stoke - underlining what is at stake.

"It's huge. It's probably one of the biggest games since I've been here, along with the cup finals and the play-off finals. It is right up there with those," he said.

"It's all well and good taking points here and there, but now it is all about winning at Sunderland. It's something we are going to try our best to do.

"They (Sunderland) have done really well in their last two games. They've picked up points when no one thought they would have done, but we've been doing really well.

"Our last couple of performances have been really good, and it's about us on Sunday. I think if we play well and we play to our strengths and how we have been lately, then we will be okay."

Source: PA