Cardiff manager Mark Hudson has called for his players to “stand up” to the threat of relegation after their agonising 1-1 draw with Wigan.
The Bluebirds conceded an equaliser in the sixth minute of added time when Latics striker Will Keane poked home from close range.
Hudson’s side had taken the lead in the 82nd minute thanks to a volley from Irish winger Callum O’Dowda and looked set for a crucial three points against their relegation rivals.
Hudson was visibly downcast afterwards, but admitted his side had only themselves to blame.
He said: “We’ve had to make changes today because some lads have only trained lightly after being out for the week with illness.
“We tried to probe and they got a lot of numbers behind the ball. But it was down to us to see that out today.
“It’s about standing up to things, that’s what football is.
“It’s not about going under, it’s about taking everything that gets thrown at you and I’ve said that to the players.”
Cardiff still cannot pay fees for new players as a result of the transfer embargo which was placed on the club because of historical debt arising from the quarrel with Nantes over the fee for the late Emiliano Sala.
But they can explore loans and free transfers, and the need for more firepower remains glaring.
Hudson added: “Today wasn’t down to whether or not we have new players coming in.
“We are always looking at options. Callum (Robinson) has been fantastic but we will look to see what can be done in the window.
“We are not the only team looking, but we will see if we can strengthen.”
Hudson was blunt about his side’s failure to preserve a lead they took a long time to take.
He said: “It’s naive from our point of view. We worked hard to break down a Wigan team that came to frustrate.
“It’s about decision-making ultimately. We had the chance to run the clock down and we should have done. We got our goal and we should see it out, it’s as simple as that.
“They said four minutes extra and they scored in the 96th minute, so they played much longer.”
Asked about the chorus of booing at the final whistle, Hudson added: “I think they were directed at the referee. If they were directed at us we have to own that and deal with it.”
The match was desperately low on quality for long periods, particularly in the first half which was disjointed and lacking a decent effort on target at either end.
But Wigan could argue they deserved a point and, while they remain at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table, they are by no means adrift.
Boss Kolo Toure will take heart from the fact his defence looked far more solid – albeit against the division’s lowest goalscorers – having conceded 12 in three successive defeats before this.
Toure said: “We could have been more ruthless in front of goal. But we showed our fighting spirit and our bench was immense.
“We are trying to build a team here who have a winning mentality.
“We realise we need to stop conceding so many goals, but we were strong at the back today.
“We are working on some more signings but the squad we have are starting to do well.”
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