Steve Morison interview: Cardiff City boss on bouncing back from Swansea defeat and rebuilding Cardiff City | Football News

Plenty are convinced the Manager of the Month award in the EFL is something of a poisoned chalice.

If Steve Morison didn’t believe in curses before, the Cardiff manager may well now, after finding out he was going to pick up the trophy around 48 hours after an historic 4-0 humbling at home by bitter rivals Swansea.

Fortunately, he takes it all in good spirits.

“It was a bit surreal in truth,” he tells Sky Sports. “To receive the email on the Monday after the Swansea game was a bit of a strange one.

“But it was for the month of March, which we were excellent in. So obviously I’m really pleased and proud.”

It wasn’t just the nature of the defeat in isolation that was so tough for Morison, Cardiff and their fans to take. It was also the fact the result – remarkably – sealed the first league double in the 110-year history of the South Wales fixture.

Steve Morison (C) with the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month award for March

Morison hasn’t been at the club for too long, but he has been there long enough to understand the weight of what unfolded.

“It was a horrible weekend for everyone,” he continues. “We know it was a tough result to take, particularly for the fans. We know they will never forget it. It was a bad performance and a bad record to lose, but it is what it is.

“We know it wasn’t good enough, we know it hurt, but we had to deal with it. We came in on Monday morning, dusted ourselves down and got back to work. Now we have to put it right. We can’t stop focusing on being the best we can be because we lost the derby.

“We need to make sure that game was a one-off performance from us. It was a shame, we just have to keep working the way we’ve been working and doing what we’re doing, because up until that game it’s been going quite well, which is why I’m still sitting here.

“Now we just have to try and finish the season as best as we can.”

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Cardiff and Swansea.

They did to an extent begin to put it right the following weekend, as they bounced back to beat Reading. The three points earned there mathematically secured their survival in the Championship this season.

It has been a promising start to managerial life for Morison, who was promoted from the under-23s on an caretaker basis when Mick McCarthy was sacked in October. He was then appointed until the end of the season in November, before having his contract extended until the summer of 2023 last month.

He has already had a real impact in terms of recruitment, bringing in five loan signings in January that all featured in some way in that win over the Royals at the weekend.

Morison hopes for more scope to make his mark this summer to take the club back to where he feels it ought to be, on a more sustainable basis.

“There is a lot of change that needs to happen,” he says. “Things are well under way with that. It’ll be an exciting summer I hope and one I’m thoroughly looking forward to being a part of. Once the season finishes we’ll be looking forward to pre-season next year, and getting going again.

“It’s a huge football club and we need to be doing a lot better than we have done this year. That starts with us as staff, and also in the recruitment we do in the summer. We want to build to be the best version of ourselves next season, and aim as high as we can.

“If we can be consistent, and keep the points tally going that we’ve had since I’ve been here, then we could be in a nice position next year.”

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Reading and Cardiff.

Aged just 38, Morison is evolving himself in his first managerial role.

He knows what style he would like to impose, but already understands that sometimes you have to operate within the confines of your resources.

“The philosophy one is difficult because if you stick to it and you’re really, really stubborn then it can sometimes come back to bite you,” he says. “You’ve got to be fluid and adaptable, and have the ability to tweak your ideas if you need to.

“I want us to be good with the ball, to have lots of energy, to be really athletic, quick and powerful. It’s not too different to what every other manager would want. I want to have a young and hungry group of players that I can be really proud of when I stand on the touchline.

“We’ve had to adapt and be a bit more pragmatic than I would have liked. We’ve had to counter-attack and be diligent in our shape, but it has worked for us – the only time it didn’t really work was against Swansea. Outside that it’s been really good, and hopefully through recruitment and time we can evolve that and add some stuff in that we can’t currently do.

“I’ve learned so much, and you try and enjoy it as much as you can. But the reality is you only enjoy it when you’re winning.

“Obviously though there is a satisfaction in seeing all the change you’ve made and the plans you’ve put together come to life, and seeing players you’ve brought in do well. There is a lot to love about the job, and I want it to last as long as it can.”

That issue of time is one that crops up again and again with managers. All want the opportunity to apply their ideas, but it is rare these days for owners to have the patience to afford it to them.

Morison, who reached the Premier League as a player himself, hopes to do the same with Cardiff one day – if only for the reason that it means he will have been given the time in his post to fulfil what he feels he is capable of.

“The club needs to be more sustainable and more manageable with a more consistent group,” he says. “We need a more balanced squad in terms of age and athleticism. If we can do that it might change our fortunes.

“But the sky is the limit. There is no reason why you should put a target on something. I just want to be the best I can every day and see where it takes me.

“If that takes Cardiff to the Premier League then fantastic, because it means I’ve done something right and it means I’d have been here for a little bit of time – and that can be the problem with management.

“I’d like to have the time to be able to do what I’d like to do here.”

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