Gus Poyet believes his Sunderland side are beginning to benefit from his 'positive' football as the race for Premier League survival nears a conclusion.
A lack of goals and penetration in the final third has blighted Sunderland's season but two stirring attacking performances in the last two games have brought an unexpected four points from daunting trips to Manchester City and Chelsea, and the former-Brighton boss sees that as a vindication of his methods.
He told the Sunderland Echo:
The way we want to play is that when someone gets the ball they have options on to pass it - if possible to pass forward first and foremost.
Sometimes you can't do that, because of good marking or whatever, so you then pass it sideways or backwards if you can't.
The most important thing is to go forward if you're playing the game right, but also to hold on to the ball if you don't have openings.
Played right, it is a very positive way of playing.
The other week against Manchester City, I don't know how many times we passed balls forward through the lines, to a midfielder to go forward. I don't know how many times we passed the ball in behind their defenders.
It would be nice to think that the last two performances represent an actual sustainable improvement rather than a flash in the pan. We've seen a few little bursts of form this season that have fizzled out a little too easily.
I'm an optimist so I hope we can, yet I think it has a lot to do with the fact that City and Chelsea were on the front foot. When we have come up against teams who are happy to sit back, we've looked fairly toothless.
On Sunday, at least we know that Cardiff can't really afford a draw any more than we can. They may even be able to afford it less considering they have one fewer games to play. Hopefully they will come out and attack, and we can exploit it. Either way, I suspect the first goal will be of massive importance.
With regard the long term, I think Poyet's passing philosophy was a big positive when he was appointed and it still very much is today.