Sunday, February 17

Premier League

Cardiff City

Cardiff trade in training break for family time after Sala tragedy

By Declan Warrington, | 6d
Manager Neil Warnock has cancelled plans for a team trip to Tenerife.

Neil Warnock has abandoned plans for Cardiff to take a mid-season break so that he and his players can reflect on the Emiliano Sala tragedy in privacy with their families.

Following Saturday’s crucial 2-1 victory at Southampton they are without a fixture until they host Watford on February 22, and Warnock had been preparing to take his squad to Tenerife ahead of the run-in that will determine whether they succeed in preserving their Premier League status.

Sala’s body was discovered on Thursday in the crashed plane that had been taking him to Cardiff, and though his team have responded admirably in the circumstances since the plane went missing on January 21, the manager believes that they will benefit from time with their families.

Tributes were paid to Emiliano Sala at Cardiff’s match at Southampton on Saturday (Mark Kerton/PA)

His captain Sol Bamba previously revealed some of their players had become fearful of flying since the incident, and the 70-year-old Warnock said: “The club gave me permission to fly out to Tenerife, to take them all for four days.

“But after what’s happened over the past two weeks, I’d rather cuddle my kids and see my missus because it’s been a long two weeks. I’ve never known anything like this in my life and I’ve seen most things.

“They’ll all be reflecting on what’s happened and your family is more important than football, isn’t it? They are all booking different flights and some of them aren’t going anywhere. I’m going somewhere near Swansea, me, for two nights.

“(Victor Camarasa’s) going back to Spain for a few days, that’ll be good, he’ll be having treatment on his calf and he’ll be training with his fitness guy over there and in nicer weather with his family.”

“They’ll all be reflecting on what’s happened and your family is more important than football, isn’t it?”
- Neil Warnock

Warnock acknowledged after the match that “we could have put the ball in the corner” rather than risk chasing their last-gasp winner.

And he added: “One of my staff said the point might have kept us up. I think when you get to my age you don’t worry too much really. You don’t know what’s around the corner, especially what’s happened around here the last two weeks.”

Victory on Saturday, secured by finishes from Sol Bamba and Kenneth Zohore either side of Jack Stephens’ late equalising goal, meant that for the first time since April 1962 the club have won successive top-flight fixtures.

Aron Gunnarsson says the death of Emiliano Sala has brought everyone at the club closer together (Mike Egerton/PA)

Warnock has targeted further points from a run that includes Everton, Wolves, West Ham and Brighton after Watford, and Aron Gunnarsson said: “(Sala’s death) brought everyone together, the performances and the fans and the lads and everyone around the club have been amazing at this difficult time.

“It has been really difficult but the boys have stuck together with everyone around the club.

“The most important thing was for the family to mourn. Knowing that now, hopefully the pilot will be found and his family can mourn. It has been difficult but we have stuck together and our gaffer said after the game, ‘This one was for Sala’.”

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