Cardiff boss Neil Warnock is confident of playing Premier League football next season – even if it means going through the play-offs.
Warnock was a picture of positivity ahead of the race for promotion from the Championship – despite his side having picked up just one point from their last three league games.
Cardiff have already secured their place in the play-offs and sit one point behind second-placed Fulham with a game in hand, a position with which Warnock is delighted.
“If you’d offered me that at the start of the season, I’d have snapped your hand off!” Warnock grinned. “To be in the play-offs with five games to go is incredible.
“I don’t fear the play-offs. Why should I? I’ve won four out of five.
“We’ve got to revel in these last few weeks, not fear it. We’ve got to walk through those doors and have a right good go and not worry about what’s behind us.
“Let’s enjoy the ride. Enjoy the moment and think where we’ve come from in the last 18 months.”
Cardiff's Gary Madine and Junior Hoilett missed two stoppage time penalties as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to title rivals Wolves.
The Cardiff boss admitted that heads had dropped briefly after these defeats to Wolves and Aston Villa, but that his side had responded well.
“If you’re not down after a game like Wolves, there’s something wrong with you,” said Warnock. “The dressing room wasn’t great after that – but one or two of the senior lads were very, very good after the Villa game. They got up and said a few words before I did. That’s why we’ve got such a close-knit group.
“My message to the players was, ‘Hey ho! We’ve had a great season – I’m enjoying it, I know you lot must be enjoying it. We’re all disappointed, we’ve been kicked in the teeth twice with two late goals – but good teams get up and go again.'”
His side’s ability to do so will be tested when they travel to Carrow Road on Saturday. Warnock is aware of the challenge posed by Norwich, but confident of rising to it.
“Norwich are capable of beating anybody. It’s a great stadium and it will be a good crowd,” he said. “We’ve just got to go down there and enjoy it.”
It seems enjoyment will be similarly central to Warnock’s approach to Cardiff’s final five games.
Cardiff vs N Forest
April 21, 2018, 7:30pm
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“We shouldn’t worry about anything – the worst result is we get into the play offs. Let’s go and have a go! The fans are behind us, the players are together, we don’t make it easy for teams – so let’s have a crack!” Warnock said.
“You just don’t know with four or five games to go, but I’m a big believer in fate.
“What will be, will be.”