Neil Warnock has dismissed talk of a dressing-room rift at Cardiff and insists he is the man to guide the Bluebirds to Premier League safety.
Former players Danny Gabbidon and Nathan Blake both questioned the team spirit at Cardiff after Warnock’s side dropped into the relegation zone on the back of three successive defeats.
Blake even went as far as to suggest the Cardiff dressing room was “splintered”, but Warnock puts the “flat” body language of recent weeks down to poor results.
“If they’ve been in the dressing room when I’ve not been around I don’t know,” Cardiff boss Warnock said ahead of Saturday’s home game against West Ham.
“Nathan is quite vociferous at certain times. I think Danny Gabbidon said something like that as well.
“When you lose three games like we have, you are flat.
“Your body language is flat and training is not the same. I don’t think there’s any rift whatsoever.”
Cardiff had climbed out of the bottom three with back-to-back wins over Bournemouth and Southampton at the start of February.
But successive home defeats to Watford and Everton, in which they conceded eight times, and last weekend’s 2-0 loss at Wolves has left them two points from safety with nine games remaining.
Supporters left the Cardiff City Stadium in their droves before the end of the Everton and Watford games, and there have been some murmurs of discontent about Warnock on social media.
“I think you get that everywhere you go,” Warnock said.
“If it was a majority, I’d be worried. You’re always going to get that (some criticism).
“Even last year when we were going for promotion, with three weeks to go, there was talk ‘is he good enough to take us up?’ when we had a couple of sticky results.
“It’s not something I worry too much about, and if I thought it’d be better to have somebody different in the place, I’d say ‘good luck to them’.
“If they thought that, it wouldn’t bother me one bit. I think I’m the best one to get us over the line this year.”
Cardiff face a demanding run-in with four of their final nine matches coming against top-six sides – Chelsea and Liverpool at home and the two Manchester clubs away.
But, with next weekend’s scheduled opponents Brighton involved in the FA Cup and an international break later this month, the West Ham game is their last fixture for over three weeks.
“It’s not what you’d want really,” said Warnock, who has arranged a friendly with an unnamed Football League club next weekend.
“It’s a bit awkward, but that’s how it’s panned out.
“I am sure these eight or nine weeks will be a very tough period for me, but you have to show how you roll up your sleeves in this situation.
“There are still clubs below us who wish they were on our points.
“We’ve done brilliant to get 25 points. We don’t want to stop on that and keep one or two people nervous above us.”