Neil Harris: Cardiff City boss focused on January transfer window, not own future

Neil Harris (left) with Cardiff goalkeeping coach Andy Dibble
Neil Harris (left) was sent off for dissent during Cardiff’s 2-1 loss at Wycombe on Tuesday

Cardiff City manager Neil Harris says he is focusing on the January transfer window rather than his own future despite his side’s loss of form.

Chairman Mehmet Dalman said in October he would be “disappointed” if they were not in the top six by January.

Asked about those comments, Harris responded: “Are you asking me if I’m going to keep my job in January?”

The former Millwal boss added: “That’s something I can’t control. I can control team selection, tactics, trying to prepare the players correctly for games, trying to advise the transfer committee on transfers.

“I can’t change what’s been done in the past – I can only focus on what’s going to happen in this window.

“I love my job – it’s a privileged position at a great club and I’ll do it to the best of my ability every day until I’m told otherwise.”

Harris succeeded Neil Warnock as Cardiff manager in November 2019 and enjoyed a strong end to last season, guiding the club to the Championship play-off semi-finals.

This campaign, however, has not gone so well and Tuesday’s defeat at Wycombe was Cardiff’s fourth in five matches.

That has not been the only worrying sequence of results this season, which the Bluebirds started with a mere three wins from their opening 13 fixtures.

Harris admitted as recently as last month that he was fighting to keep his job, holding talks with Cardiff’s owner Vincent Tan.

After losing at Wycombe, Harris said that he had been in regular contact with Tan lately – but to discuss the January transfer window rather than his own future.

“I’ve spoken to Vincent every day for the last week or two weeks, I spoke to Mehmet two days ago, and they know my thoughts,” said Harris.

“We’re not going to spend money in January – no-one is. No football club is going to be spending money in January because it’s just not possible.

“Not us but other clubs are struggling to pay wages. There’s loads not been reported about clubs not paying wages in the Championship. Football is struggling.

“Signing lots of players and spending lots of money is not going to be the case. That’s been done in the past and I’ve tried to address that in the time that I’ve been here.

“We’ll try and adjust the group – we’ve seen tonight we need to do that – but to adjust the group, players have to go out. Do clubs want to sign our players? I don’t know – I haven’t had any phone calls yet.

“We’ve got a group of good lads but I need them to step up and be better at times.”

Cardiff lacked leadership after Morrison injury

Harris did not hold back with his criticism of Cardiff’s players after losing to Wycombe, who won for only a third time this season.

“We are too far away from the top six for everyone’s liking, for my liking in particular,” he said.

“Losing games like tonight, the manner we did, is disappointing. It’s not good enough for me. Conceding goals against Brentford and Norwich when they are playing so well, you understand it, Norwich scored some cracking goals against us.

“But to concede goals like tonight and against Birmingham is not acceptable. Where is the clean sheet mentality? We have had it for so long and we have now let in 11 goals in 5 games.

“It’s just too many. It can’t happen. If you want to compete at the top end of this league then you have to have the mentality to stop the ball going in your goal.

“I don’t see us doing the hard yards to stop crosses or putting the head in where it hurts. Is there enough leadership in the group, enough desire to want to do well?”

BBC News