Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan has lavished praise on Mick McCarthy for the “great job” he is doing at the club since his arrival.
McCarthy took over from Neil Harris last month with the club languishing in 15th place in the Championship, nervously looking over their shoulder at a looming relegation battle.
Results under Harris had been bleak, and the top brass at Cardiff City Stadium moved to replace him with veteran boss McCarthy with the hope of staving off the drop and moving the team up the standings.
It was an appointment met with a certain degree of negativity amongst supporters, but McCarthy’s impact has been eye-opening in the extreme and his no-nonsense approach has won over an initially sceptical fanbase.
Two draws and five wins later, Cardiff are on the fringes of the play-offs – a remarkable turnaround after the inconsistent first half of the season under Harris.
Ahead of Wednesday night’s crunch clash against Bournemouth on the south coast, the Bluebirds sit seventh, just three points behind sixth-placed Cherries.
And in a rare interview, Tan has given the thumbs up to the job McCarthy is doing in south Wales.
“I am very happy, very pleased, Mick McCarthy has done a great job in a short while,” he told talkSPORT.
“Definitely, any owner would be very pleased with this performance.
“So I really am very happy and thankful that Mick and all his boys did a great job.
“Of course (this needs) everybody’s co-operation and the team have stepped up very well under Mick’s leadership.
“Hopefully we can do better, hopefully we can get into the play-offs.”
Presenter Jim White then interjected, saying: “That is what you want, you want to get to the Premier League, don’t you Vincent?”
“Of course we pray we will be able to get there,” Tan responded.
“You never know. For example, last season we were also in the play-offs, Neil Harris, our former manager did a great job last season.
“Unfortunately this season he didn’t do too well so we had to do a change, and I believe I feel good, that Mick is doing a great job and I believe we have a good chance to get into the play-offs.
“If we are blessed, we hope to be promoted, I’m sure everyone would like to be promoted.”
McCarthy has brought with him a wealth of experience in this division, but wasn’t exactly short of critics when he first arrived, with many fans seemingly underwhelmed by his appointment in the capital, viewing it as a step back.
However, Tan believes that recent results have helped change a few minds, and he believes the fanbase is now behind McCarthy as he looks to mastermind a play-off push.
“He came highly recommended,” Tan added. “We all agreed that with his background and his experience – he’s taken two clubs up to the Premier League before, although that was a while ago.
“So we thought maybe we’d give him a chance. When we first brought Mick in, there were a lot of negative comments. But now that Mick has proven [himself] I think many of them have been turned around and I think the fans are supporting Mick now.
“So I just want to say to the fans, thank you very much, please continue to support Mick. Support the team. They need to have the right leadership for them and they can all perform. I think we have a good team and a bunch of great lads.”
talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan agrees, and believes McCarthy is well placed to replicate fellow Yorkshireman Neil Warnock’s success in getting the Bluebirds back into the Premier League.
Speaking after Tan’s interview, the former Crystal Palace owner said: “They’ve always had their success with tried and tested. They’ve gone with Neil Warnock, who picked them up at a similar time. In fact they were probably at a lower ebb than when Mick came in.
“He got them to the promised land and they developed a relationship with Neil that they enjoyed, both Mehmet and Vincent. They’ve gone with Mick, who is a really decent manager and perhaps doesn’t get the plaudits that he should get.
“You look at Ipswich Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers, they benefited from his time, and everyone has their time and moment. But I think Mick is an operator at that level with very few peers.
“It’s not surprising to me that they’ve got their heads on. Because he’s a common sense, straight-down-the-line manager that understands the Championship really, really well, and gives Cardiff the best opportunity.”