Malky Mackay hailed his injury-hit Cardiff City after they delivered a statement of intent to their Championship rivals with a gutsy victory over league leaders Southampton. Kenny Miller struck twice in seven second-half minutes to provide the perfect tonic for manager Mackay's patched-up side.
Mackay has a crippling injury crisis on his hands and came into this match without seven first-team players including a trio of attacking options in the form of Craig Conway, Robert Earnshaw and Rudy Gestede. That put the onus firmly on Miller – an £880,000 summer signing from Bursaspor – to produce the goods in attack.
The Scot, who had not found the back of the net since the opening-weekend success at West Ham, finally ended an eight-game goal drought as the double strike stretched the Welsh club's unbeaten run to eight matches despite Steve de Ridder's late consolation.
Mackay said: "We were looking to try and make sure we even had a bench. The options were probably not what we'd have hoped for, but, in terms of positions, it was what we had left fit in the building.
"It was a test but we had to be brave and believe in the players and tactics we had to beat Southampton. The togetherness in the squad has grown as the weeks have gone along and everyone wants to do well for each other. There are no fractures in our team and that is paying off."
Miller's first goal came as the former Rangers striker latched on to David Marshall's punt downfield and headed over Saints goalkeeper Kelvin Davis. The 31-year-old soon doubled his tally with a cool close-range finish.
The Southampton manager, Nigel Adkins, was left ruing missed opportunities. "I counted that we had six real good chances in the latter part of the game," he said.
Cardiff (4-4-1-1) Marshall; McNaughton (Quinn, 67), Hudson, Gerrard, Blake; Kiss (Taiwo, 84), Whittingham, Cowie, Gunnarsson; Miller; Mason (Keinan, 90). Substitutes not used Parish,Turner.
Southampton (4-4-2) Davis; Richardson, Fonte, Fox, Hooiveld; Schneiderlin, Cork (Chaplow, 73), Do Prado, Lallana; Lambert, Connolly (De Ridder, 57). Substitutes not used Bialkowski, Hammond, Martin.
Referee P Gibbs (West Midlands)Reuse content