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Cardiff City v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Focus: Cardiff fan Tomas gives us the lowdown on what Sunderland can expect

Ahead of Sunderland’s match with Cardiff, we spoke to Bluebirds fan Tomas who gave us the lowdown on Erol Bulut’s new-look side. Who should we be wary of?

Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images

After finishing 21st last season, Cardiff turned to Erol Bulut to become their new manager - what have your impressions of him been so far?

Much like the rest of the fanbase, I’ve completely fallen in love with him!

Erol is exactly the type of manager we’ve been screaming out for. He knows how much of a challenge it’s going to be, but he’s ready for that and I see him staying here for the long term.

It was exciting to see that we went in a different direction by going for a manager from Europe who, in all honesty, we knew nothing about. Ken Choo (CEO) and Mehmet Dalman (Chairman) have apparently wanted him for a while, so it’s great that it’s finally been able to happen.

It’s been said a million times already but he just gets it and knows how much the club means to the fans.

The stories of him going pubs in Cardiff and happily chatting to fans about what they want from this season and what the team means to them just makes him so much more likeable, it feels like he’s one of us already!

Looking at your results, the goals are certainly flowing, but ways rather than one, is your style of play very open and end to end?

We’re certainly moving away from the Cardiff City of old that people will have known us for over the last few years.

Our style so far this season has been far more attacking and we’ve adopted more of a passing style of play. Whilst we still do use long balls, they’re more direct to players (as was seen for Ollie Tanner’s goal against Swansea) rather than the aimless ones we were used to under the likes of Mick McCarthy.

Whilst we’ve not been as clinical as I’d hoped at times, we’re starting to be just that and that’s why we’ve seen an upturn in goals in the last few games, and definitely more than last year.

Cardiff City v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship - Cardiff City Stadium
Erol Bulut has previously managed four different Turkish clubs, including Fenerbahce.
Photo by Robbie Stephenson/PA Images via Getty Images

A key result to get fans on side and players united was your recent 2-0 derby victory over Swansea, how much of a lift did that give everyone?

It was massive.

To go and lose 4 in a row to them has been beyond depressing and we had managers who didn’t really seem that bothered about how big these games were, compared to Russell Martin who was the Swansea manager at the time and he was always desperate to win them.

With Bulut having managed an Istanbul derby with Fenerbahce we knew that he’d know how important these games are to us as supporters, which transferred onto the pitch last Saturday.

It’s the first time in forever that we feel a real connection with the players, and we can’t wait to see where this year can take us!

Your marquee signing this summer was the return of academy graduate Aaron Ramsey, what were fans' initial reactions to this and how has he got on so far?

I still think I’m going to wake up and it’ll all have just been an incredible dream.

When the rumours started I tried not to get my hopes up after the Gareth Bale saga last year, but I was still hopeful. Having him back when he’s still in such a good place in his career has been huge.

He’s still the Wales captain, he loves the club, and he’s taken back like a duck to water. Us fans knew that he was going to be good, but we never anticipated that he would’ve performed as well as he has so far!

He’s looking like the Rambo of old at times, and not having him for just a glorified retirement tour has been brilliant.

Cardiff City v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship
Aaron Ramsey has already scored three goals since returning to Cardiff, including the winner against Swansea.
Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images

Although I imagine players like Ramsey weren’t cheap in terms of wages, I did notice that no fees have been spent on players - is everything currently stable under Vincent Tan?

We were under an embargo this summer which is why we haven’t signed anyone permanently, but in all honesty, I don’t know that we could’ve done any better if we were able to sign players.

You have to be that bit pickier and savvier when you don’t have cash to use, and without that, I think we would’ve had a worse window.

In terms of Vincent Tan, I have no idea. You never really hear much from him, and there are always rumours that he might sell. He’s looking to sell his other football teams and for that reason, I personally can’t see him selling Cardiff any time soon, but you never know!

In the loan market, Cardiff recruited Ike Ugbo, Karlan Grant, Josh Bowler, Alex Runarsson and Jonathan Panzo, who has impressed you so far and who needs to step up?

In all honesty, everyone we’ve signed on loan has impressed me so far.

I think they’re all developing into being handy players for the team. I’m especially excited to see how Karlan Grant will end up playing because I think there’s a great player there. He’s finally got his first goal and now I hope this means he can kick on and be a great player for us.

I think it would be harsh to say any of them need to step up, but I really hope that Jonathan Panzo can be the player he was last year at Coventry. To be able to have him, Dimitrios Goutas, and Mark McGuinness all as centre back options is such a great problem to have and I can’t wait to see how he performs this year.

Cardiff City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Dennis Cirkin scored the winner when the two sides last met in April.
Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Aside from the above-mentioned players, are there any Cardiff players Sunderland should be wary of?

One player who I’ve not mentioned yet but has been brilliant for us is Manolis Siopis. He was absolutely crucial against Swansea and will end up being such an important player for us this year.

He reads the game so well, creates chances, and tracks back very well. The best way of describing him is as an all-round midfielder who we’ve needed for a while.

He can completely control the midfield which only means that Aaron Ramsey and Joe Ralls can do their jobs even better.

Can we expect Bulut to go for it or do you think it will be a snatch-and-grab approach similar to last season?

I hope Bulut goes for it, but does so in a bit of a careful way. A bit similar to Leeds and Leicester away this year, but with us being a tad more clinical and tighter at the back.

Sunderland is always going to be a very tough place to go to, but I hope we can rise to the challenge.

We had opportunities to win the Leicester game, and Leeds just had a ridiculously talented team that day. I think the key will be to attack, but to know when to and not try and get too silly with it.

Both fixtures between the two sides ended 1-0 last season, what is your prediction for the final score?

I think it’ll be a tough one, but I’ll say 2-0 Cardiff.


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